Euro 2020: Czech Republic enter a happy hunting ground to emulate 1996

The last time Czech Republic were in England for a tournament, they reached the final where they lost to Germany at Wembley in 1996.

They were the only side to beat England in qualifying and will be looking to frustrate Southgate’s men again when they meet again on June 22nd.

Group D: CZECH REPUBLIC, England, Croatia, Scotland
Manager: Jaroslav Silhavy
Odds (PP): 125/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (did not qualify), Euro 2016 (group stage).
FIFA World Ranking: 40th

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Key Man

Tomas Soucek. The West Ham man has had an outstanding first season in England following his move from Sparta Prague last summer. 10 goals from midfield in the Premier League helped the Hammers finish 6th, above the likes of Spurs, Arsenal and Everton. He also scored a hattrick against Estonia on international duty in March. His work rate and eye for a goal will be huge for Czech Republic this summer.

The Squad

Sevilla second choice keeper Tomas Vaclik is selected and will start in goals. Another Hammer, right back Vladimir Coufal is in the team after a fantastic campaign which saw him included in many English pundits Team of The Season.

Bristol’s Tomas Kalas, who spent nine years at Chelsea, consisting of two appearances and seven loan spells, is included and should start at centre-back alongside Sparta Prague’s Onrej Colustka. Tomas Soucek and Spartak Moscow’s Alex Kral are selected and expected to start in centre midfield.

Further forward in midfield are Hertha Berlin’s Vladimir Darida, Antonin Barak, a key performer in Verona’s impressive season, and Sampdoria’s Jakub Jankto. Sparta wide man Lukas Masopust is also included and could start.

Spearheading the attack is Leverkusen’s Patrick Schick. His 13 goals was a decent return for his first season at the Bay Arena, after impressing on loan at Leipzig the previous season. He is tall and pacey with a powerful left footed shot and will be a handful for Group D defenders.
Backing him up will be Legia Warsaw striker Tomas Pekhart, who has 22 goals in 25 games in the Polish Ekstrasklasa this season, and Burnley forward Matej Vydra.

One to Watch

Alex Kral. The Spartak defensive midfielder, who can also play centre back, just turned 23 and is highly rated. Easily recognisable by his David Luiz like hairdo, he will be hoping to impress on Europe’s biggest stage which could earn him a move away from Russia to one of Europe’s top leagues and propel his career.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Tomáš Vaclík (Sevilla), Jiří Pavlenka (Werder Bremen), Aleš Mandous (Olomouc)

Defenders: Vladimír Coufal (West Ham), Pavel Kadeřábek (Hoffenheim), Ondřej Čelůstka (Sparta Praha), Tomáš Kalas (Bristol City), David Zima (Slavia Praha), Jan Bořil (Slavia Praha), Aleš Matějů (Brescia), Jakub Brabec (Viktoria Plzeň)

Midfielders: Lukáš Masopust (Slavia Praha), Vladimír Darida (Hertha Berlin), Tomáš Souček (West Ham), Antonín Barák (Verona), Alex Král (Spartak Moskva), Tomáš Holeš (Slavia Praha), Petr Ševčík (Slavia Praha), Jakub Jankto (Sampdoria), Adam Hložek (Sparta Praha), Jakub Pešek (Liberec), Michal Sadílek (Liberec)

Forwards: Patrik Schick (Leverkusen), Michael Krmenčík (PAOK), Matěj Vydra (Burnley), Tomáš Pekhart (Legia)

The Author

Daragh Searing

Student and sports fanatic, aged 19. I availed of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to get into sportswriting, something I've always had strong interest in. Man United fan but also a keen follower of Serie A & European football. Hoping to pursue a career in sportswriting, with Soccer and Rugby my areas of expertise. email: searingdaragh9@gmail.com

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