Prediction: England to win to nil
England will be hoping to get their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers off to the best possible start as they take on the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium on Friday evening.
Gareth Southgate’s men come into the match off of the back of an excellent World Cup campaign in Russia, whilst they have also managed to reach the finals of the UEFA Nations League so they will confident of getting a positive result.
The Three Lions will be in an extremely confident mood as they take on the Czech Republic having reach the Nations League finals, albeit back in November. It took a dramatic turnaround for Southgate’s men to reach the finals in Portugal after they fell behind to Andrej Kramaric’s strike in the final group game. However, goals from Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane gave England victory. That means the team have managed to win their last three games. As a matter of fact, they have only ever lost one game at Wembley Stadium under Southgate and that came in the 2-1 defeat to Spain in the Nations League.
One aspect that will give the group huge confidence is their record in qualifying for major tournaments. The Three Lions have not failed to qualify for a major tournament since the 2008 Euros held in Austria and Switzerland, their only failure to qualify in their last 12 attempts.
Southgate has already had a few members drop out of the squad due to respective injuries. Fabian Delph, John Stones, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Luke Shaw have all pulled out. They have been replaced by James Ward-Prowse and Callum Hudson-Odoi. West Ham United’s Declan Rice has also been granted his maiden call-up after declaring for the Three Lions.
Like England, the Czech Republic’s qualification record for the European championships is pretty excellent. Since becoming an independent state, the country has never failed to qualify for a single European tournament, finishing 2nd in 1996 and 3rd in 2004 respectively. However, their record in World Cups is not as inspiring; only managing to reach one edition of the tournament in 2006. They also did not leave much of an impact in the UEFA Nations League last year either. Clashing with Ukraine and Slovakia in Group 1 of League B, the team managed to finish second after winning two and losing two of their four games. Having said that, they have won their last two games 1-0, meaning that Jaroslav Šilhavý’s men now have the chance to notch three consecutive clean sheets for the first time since 2013.
There are not many names within the Czech Republic squad that will be too familiar to fans of English football. Burnley striker Matej Vydra, who has scored five goals in 24 appearances for his country, has once again been called into the squad. Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Tomas Kalas is also included in the defensive ranks.
Key Facts To Consider
- England have never lost a game to the Czech Republic (W1, D1, L0)
- The last match between the two at Wembley Stadium in 2008 ended 2-2
- England have not lost a tournament qualifier since a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine in 2009 ahead of the South Africa World Cup
- The Czech Republic have never failed to qualify for the European Championships
- Raheem Sterling has scored five goals in as many games for Manchester City before this game
It goes without saying that England’s recent record in qualifiers will give them huge confidence heading into this game and should be a stroll for them at Wembley. The Three Lions’ strong squad should easily see them through the match and onto the three points at home, where they are usually imperious.
Prediction: England to win to nil
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