Fans all around the world will finally get to witness another international tournament in all its glory – including Czech who will look to surprise a few. This is the 10th time Czech Republic will be representing themselves at a Euro tournament – the 7th being known as Czech Republic, with the other 3 as Czechoslovakia.
They have won the tournament once in their history – coming in 1976. This wasn’t an anomaly – as they finished runners up in 1996 and have got out of the group stages 5 times, a history which could inspire them to go further than many would anticipate. However, in the last Euros they featured in, they only managed one point and came 4th. Albeit in a tough group, but 2016 was a time to forget for Czech – who will look to prove a point this time around.
Czech Republic Squad:
- GK – Tomas Vaclik (Sevilla FC)
- GK – Ales Mandous (Sigma Olomouc)
- GK – Jiri Pavlenka (Werder Bremen)
- DEF – Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim)
- DEF – Ondrej Celustka (Sparta Praha)
- DEF – Jakub Brabec (Viktoria Plzen)
- DEF – Vladimir Coufal (West Ham United)
- DEF – Tomas Kalas (Bristol City)
- DEF – Tomas Holes (Slavia Prague)
- DEF – David Zima (Slavia Praha)
- DEF – Jan Boril (Slavia Praha)
- DEF – Ales Mateju (Brescia)
- MID – Antonin Barak (Udinese was on loan at Verona)
- MID – Vladmir Darida (Hertha Berlin)
- MID – Lukas Masopust (Slavia Praha)
- MID – Petr Sevcik (Slavia Praha)
- MID – Jakub Jankto (Sampdoria)
- MID – Tomas Soucek (West Ham United)
- MID – Alex Kral (Spartak Moskvo)
- MID – Jakub Pesek (Sparta Prague)
- MID – Michal Sadilek (PSV was on loan at Slovan Liberec)
- FWD – Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen)
- FWD – Michael Krmencik (PAOK)
- FWD – Adam Hlozek (Sparta Praha)
- FWD – Matej Vydra (Burnley)
- FWD – Tomas Pekhart (Legia Warsaw)
- Manager – Jaroslav Silhavy.
Standout players for Czech:
The midfield player has been a star asset for West Ham – firing them into a European spot. In their 4231 system with Rice, the pairing have been brilliant. They have complimented each other well – with aerial duels won, staying compact, balanced and most noticeably a goal scoring threat in Tomas Soucek. The Irons man has often been compared to Fellaini and you can see why. Dominant in the air, a surprisingly good goal scorer – all while making 3.58 clearances per 90 – a very high rate.
Soucek’s aerial ability is also noticeable as he wins 5.90 aerial battles per 90 – a crazy high number. His height paired with his goal scoring abilities makes him a useful plan B for Czech Republic if they’re in need of a goal.
Due to his general build, he is not a ball-carrying type or someone who makes ambitious passes, but for how Czech Republic will play in their 4231, he could be a really useful asset from set pieces and open play. He has played all 38 premier League games and has accumulated 10 goals and 1 assist – a mightily impressive goal tally for someone of his position and someone who was relatively unknown by many. He has established himself brilliantly and will be a big threat for opponents to deal with.
The all-round fullback is another part of the Czech contingency which have been a revelation at West Ham. He signed from Slavia Prague – identical to Soucek, and has filled a position of a previously ageing Zabaletta which was in need. He has offered a good attacking output – getting 7 assists, with his great crossing ability a big factor. Czech Republic are a tall and physical team – so having good crossers of the ball could cause havoc for the opposition and pose a serious goal threat.
Aside from his crossing, Coufal has offered a very balanced output offensively and defensively. This is rarer for a fullback nowadays and most of them are attacking oriented but aren’t so assured defensively. This is backed up to not be the case for Coufal – as he makes 3.60 clearances a game, 2.18 blocks a game and 2.27 tackles a game – impressive numbers for a fullback.
Offensively – he is not just a good crosser. He creates 2.09 shot-creating actions in a game – which shows what he does on the ball is effective and can come to use to create more chance for Czech Republic. A standout player who has had a standout season and I expect the Euro’s to be another strong point in the 28-year-olds career.
Despite not having the best numbers for club, Masopust is one of the few creative/ball-carrying profiles in the Czech squad. His ball carrying ability is emphasised as he has 7.45 carries a game. This brings Czech Republic a source of ball retention and an offensive threat for the opposition to keep an eye on. His progression doesn’t stop there – as he offers 5.45 progressive passes per 90. Being a right-oriented attacker could allow for a dangerous right-hand side – in the form of Coufal and Masopust, who could link up well with 1 2s and build-up play to help create more chances.
For club, Slavia Prague have been a very good pressing team, pinning opponents back. Masopust averages 15.05 pressures a game. If this can be translated to the international level, then it’s another area to look out for – winning the ball back and potentially creating goal-scoring opportunities. Although Masopust isn’t the type to get crazy numbers, he is a useful player which could help Czech Republic in different areas offensively.
How The Czech will likely lineup:
Jaroslav Silhavy usually lines up in a simple 4231. This is to stay defensively compact and to still fit a lot of attacking oriented players in the team. Darida has often been played in the no.10 role. He is a versatile midfield player who has defensive qualities to suit different roles.
Jaroslav does this to ensure the pivot isn’t exposed and has defensive support. Darida dropping deeper could also allow Soucek to go further forward and be a goal threat. The team is well balanced and players like Darida and Darida and Jankto allow a 4141 to be used (which it is occasionally) and a compact solid defensive structure – where the midfield is congested and hard to play through.
What can be expected off Czech Republic?
Czech Republic are in a group with England, Croatia and Scotland – so a tough group to get out of. I think Czech will edge through as one of the better 3rd place teams in the tournament. The lack of match winners could be a downfall for Czech – but overall they’re a solid, compact team which can give the likes of Croatia and England a tough game – as shown by drawing 1-1 to Belgium in the preparation to this tournament.
In these games, the quality is likely to show through so even if Czech Republic make it out the groups, I don’t think they will go much further – however, in 1 off games, they have the potential to be a very frustrating team to play who could cause any team a frustrating game in a 1 off tie. You would expect the quality to show through against teams like England, but they have the potential to go slightly further than anticipated or could flop out early – as a result of a tough group and an inferior squad.
Follow @afcmcj on Twitter if you enjoy different articles like this and for more football-related content in a listening format follow @BigSixPod.
Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter @FootballOTH and @OTHeroics for all your sporting needs! Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics Forums.
Main Image Credits- Embed from Getty Images