England´s Euro 2020 group stage final act against the Czech Republic is not an affair for the worrywart people. The Three Lions are called to a convincing performance against the only team that was able to beat them in the Qualifiers. Truth has it, a draw could be enough for both to go through.
Czech Republic vs. England
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 – 03:00 PM EDT at Wembley Stadium
The goalless draw against Scotland made England´s path in Euro2020 more difficult than expected before the tournament´s kick-off. The Scots' proud performance along with Harry Kane´s worrying form is giving Gareth Southgate many thoughts on the eve of the final game of the group stage. The Czechs are not traveling to Wembley as tourists, let alone sparring partners. Silahvy´s men are first in the group and have the target to do better than the 1996 heroes at this stage.
Even though a draw would be enough for both to go through to the Final 16, the impression is that Patrick Schick & Associates will not rely on too many calculations and aim at a big scalp exactly like the 1996 Runners-Up did when they beat Italy in Liverpool. Losing at Wembley is not an option for Southgate: a defeat at home would open a national crisis even if they would still manage to qualify at the expense of Croatia or Scotland.
At the same time, the second spot might give England a more comfortable route through the knock-out stage (ah! The beauty of the tournaments brackets…). The permutations are several, but one cannot focus too much on ´what would happen if´ and lose focus from the actual issues.
Southgate will not move away from the 4-3-3 formation, it would be like distancing himself from his work and achievements. However, he might ask his younger players to take a step back in favor of the more experienced men of the squad. Whoever will start, the slow and self-restrained interpretation of the same formation that brought a brilliant win against Croatia, it´s what England need to radically change. Silhavy´s 4-2-3-1 is all about vertical football to reach Schick as fast as possible. England better copy and cope with that.
Despite the goal drought and being substituted in both games, Southgate assured that England´s captain, Harry Kane, will be a start against the Czechs. He did that on the press well ahead of the game with a strategic aim at avoiding endless speculations until the official match sheet would be published. Kane is helping the team a lot but, in doing so, he´s missing the most important thing a striker is judged from goals. On the opposite, Patrick Schick is having the time of his life, and shining against England might put him in Premier League´s radars.
The Czechs have nothing to lose. In a group where they were starting behind England and Croatia, they are overachieving and following the footprints of the 1996 wonder team. Even if they lost, they would be likely to go through to the knock-out stage and it´s already big time. England carry the burden of being favorites and it has not always played good for them.
The Czechs have been among the most surprising teams of the Euro2020 group stage: how far can they go it´s something we´re left to wonder. For now, they can give England headaches. Hence, a Both-To-Score option doesn´t seem foreign to the economy of the match. If you think, both teams might set on a truce after a good hour of play, the full-time draw (X) might seem a more than reasonable odd to stake on.