Euro Betting: Croatia v Czech Republic, 18th June
Group Stage | Group D | Glasgow
Their Euro So Far
Both teams essentially played away fixtures for Matchday 1. Croatia losing to their 2018 World Cup semi-final opponents, England, whilst the Czechs managed a great 2-0 victory against Scotland, with a goal of the tournament contender, the talk of the game.
Croatia were largely toothless against the Three Lions, with a rather placid encounter being played out under the arches at Wembley, only England’s attacking prowess being the main difference between the teams. Croatia Coach, Zlatko Dalic has admitted himself;
“We are not good in attack; we lack mobility, depth, and the ability to find space.”
Such an honest admission must sting his players, but give hope to the Czechs. He did however, state that changes will be made for the game against Czech Republic, both in terms of tactics, style, and personnel. This is also expected to include the leadership of defender, Dejan Lovren, and the continuing brilliance of Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. So, maybe it’s not worth writing off 2018’s World Cup finalists just yet.
For the Czech’s, they can enjoy the relief that comes with an opening game victory. Whilst Scotland had several positive moments in the game, Czech Republic played a defensive and compact match, yet took their chances with aplomb.
Striker, Patrik Schick made a dream start to his tournament; a towering header to take the lead, followed by a 49-yard wondergoal that broke Euro records for the longest distance goal scored at a tournament. And with that being Schick’s 13th international goal, and 3rd in 2 games, there’s no doubt he will be looking to build on his Euro tally as the group stages progress.
There are also five players in Jaroslav Šilhavý’s selection from the Slavia Praha side that went unbeaten domestically in 2020/21, winning the Czech league and cup double. Then there are a number of players who reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, in Masopust, Jan Bořil, Tomáš Holeš, Petr Ševčík, and David Zima.
It’s also worth noting that Croatia’s defeat to England was only their second loss over 90 minutes in their last 15 Euro matches, whilst the Czech’s have qualified for every Euro final tournament since the split from Czechoslovakia in 1993, and since then, they reached the final in 1996, the semi-finals in 2004, and the quarter-final in 2012.
Based on all this, we can expect to see a truly competitive game, with neither side wanting to relinquish their cherished Euro finals position lightly.
The last meeting between the two nations was back in the Euro 2016 group stages, coincidentally, also during the second round of games like this one. Croatia were in control with goals either side of half-time from Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic (the latter, not part of the current squad), but Czech Republic fought back, with a last minute penalty rescuing a point.
Neither of the Czech scorers are in the current squad, following a considerable overhaul after finishing bottom of their Euro 2016 group, gaining just one point in that draw against the Croats, who still finished top of their group.
There was also a 4-2 Croatia friendly win back in 2011, with Nikola Kalinic scoring twice, the first the Czechs had conceded four goals in a game.
So, will Croatia fly their chequered flag to victory? Or will the Czech’s and Schick have more wondergoals in their locker?