Czech Republic Euro 2024 squad, predicted line-up versus Portugal, latest odds and star players

6 days ago 18

FANS of a certain vintage will never forget the original “Panenka” penalty that sealed the 1976 European Championships final win over West Germany.

Nearly half a century on, and now representing only half the old Czechoslovakia, much travelled former 55-capped midfielder Ivan Hasek has returned for a second spell at the helm.

EPA
The Czechs made the quarter-final of Euro 2020[/caption]

The Czechs finished behind Albania and forced Poland into the play-offs in qualifying.

West Ham fans have seen plenty of Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek over the past few years and there non-stop hard work will be on show at the Euros.

Three years ago, they eliminated Scotland at Hampden Park and stunned Holland before being edged out by Denmark in the last eight.

Repeating that run might be a stretch but they love the big occasion.

Manager: Ivan Hasek

Only appointed in January, he played for Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup and is also a lawyer.

Key man: Patrick Schick

Former Sampdoria, Roma and RB Leipzig striker has seen his role at German champions Leverkusen reduced a tad this season under Xabi Alonso – mainly being used off the bench.

But he remains a massive threat and an excellent target man. Plus who can forget his goal from the halfway line at the last Euros against Scotland, which helped him share the Golden Boot with Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Likely line-up

How they attack

The Czech Republic will be playing in their seventh consecutive Euros this coming summer.

And having reached the quarter final stage in two of the last versions of the competition they will have high hopes in Germany.

They have been drawn in one of the more even groups with Portugal as the favourites to qualify along with Turkey and Georgia.

In qualification and in recent friendly matches the Czech’s have been versatile tactically moving between a 3-4-3and a 4-2-3-1 system.

While they have technical players that are comfortable in possession of the ball they will not typically overplay or take chances with the ball on their first line.

If the opposition press high then expect to see them play in a more direct manner.

The opposition look to press high the Czech side are not going to overplay. Instead they are willing to go long to attack the space behind the opposition press

As they move into the more established attacking phase they are not possession orientated and they are more likely to attack through quick attacking transitions.

When playing in their 3-4-2-1 shape especially the two advanced midfielders behind the striker will make regular runs to attack space in the opposition half.

The goal is to play quick and direct passes to release players into space behind the opposition defensive line

The aim for the Czech Republic is to play forward to attack space behind the opposition defensive line.

If the opposition do drop back to take this space away, though then expect to see them look to push players forward to occupy space and force the opposition even deeper.

The opposition have been forced back and into a deep defensive block by the Czechs

How they defend

Typically the Czech Republic will be flexible with the way that they defend in this summer’s tournament.

They press forward and chase and engage the ball but they do so with one or two players while others hold a deeper position to defend space and make it difficult for the opposition to play out from the back.

The Norway goalkeeper is in possession deep and the Czech forward bends his run to block the clearance. There are three players in a relatively high position but they are not pressing and are waiting to react to the short pass should it come

The aim out of possession from the Czech side is to force the opposition into playing a longer pass to play through the first line of the defensive structure.

The Czech midfield will then react to these long passes and press the ball centrally.

Poland have been forced to play long as the Czech defensive structure pushes high and forces them to go longer away from the press

When the opposition do break into their half we can expect to see the Czech defensive structure drop back to take away space and to defend the area.

When they play in their 3-4-2-1 shape then the wide midfielders drop back in to form a block of five.

And then at least two of the midfielders will stay deep to defend the central areas.

Poland have pushed on and attack high into the Czech half and the defensive line has dropped into a five. They are willing to defend deep and allow the opposition to have the ball in wide areas

Prediction

Portugal and Turkey are tipped to progress from Group F.

But with all three likely to pick up three points against Georgia, the Czechs will be hopeful they can sneak through as third-place or even runners-up.

Latest odds

William Hill have got them as 150/1 outsiders to go all the way and lift the trophy in Berlin and they’re 11/10 to finish inside Group F’s top two.

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