Czech Republic and Turkey go into their final group match eyeing an unlikely place in the knockouts. This Group D clash in Euro 2016 will be played at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Tuesday, June 21.
The Czechs looked down and out against Croatia after falling behind by goals from Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic. All looked lost inside the first hour of play but substitute Milan Skoda breathed life into their campaign by pulling one back. It got better for Czech Republic when Croatia lost concentration because of unrest among the crowd and Tomas Necid powered home the equalizer. This draw kept the tournament alive for Czech Republic. That didn’t look the scenario in their group opener against Spain when they lost 1-0 – thanks largely to their tactic of sitting deep. But a comeback draw against Croatia gives them hope ahead of the encounter against Turkey.
A win will take Czechs to four points which would put them into contention for automatic qualification. Even if the result in the game between Span and Croatia doesn’t turn up in their favor, Czech Republic can hope to stay in contention as one of the best third placed teams. There can be complex combinations of penalty shootout tiebreaker too but all that will be history if the Czechs can’t win against Turkey.
Call it the advantage of an expanded tournament but even Turkey carry slim hopes of qualification to knockouts. With no points in their kitty, Turkey with a win can hope to sneak through as one of the four best third-placed teams. But their performances in the tournament so far thrashes any such hopes. They started poorly against Croatia and deserved a bigger defeat margin than 1-0. Against Spain they were even worse, shipping three goals to a Spanish side that is struggling to ascertain in the final third. Although they started strongly, the first goal from Alvaro Morata seems to have snuffed out their fight. The fans too were disillusioned with their performance as is evident from the booing of their own players.
It is difficult for any team to come back from a 3-0 mauling and more so for this side which is struggling for any impact from any of the players. Their goal difference took a beating against Spain and any hopes of climbing up the table will need to win by a huge margin. But can they pick up their game and be back to their best when the odds are stacked heavily against them?
Czech Republic do not have a favorable record as they head into a must-win encounter. They have won just four of their last ten encounters with four losses in the period highlighting their inconsistency. It is difficult to see them string a victory but the sight of a struggling Turkey could just be the tonic for the Czechs.
Turkey have lost three of their five recent encounters while scoring just three goals in these matches. Even the sight of a poor defensive outfit like Czech Republic doesn’t look capable of inspiring confidence in this flailing unit.
Key players and team news
Tomas Rosciky could be a major absentee for the Czechs who will miss out due to a hamstring injury. Goal scorers Tomas Necid and Milan Skoda will be hoping for a starting role but unless the Czechs line up adventurously, they may not see action from the start.
Turkey looks lost with most of the big name players conspicuous with their dismal performances. Arda Turan is under heavy pressure and criticism from his own fans and could use it to spur into action.
Czech Republic gives hope to any opponent having kept clean sheet in just one of their last 24 matches. They have scored in 16 of their last 20 games too which means there could be action at both ends.
Turkey too have scored in 15 of their last 18 encounters including a 2-0 win over Czech Republic. But with an indifferent form in the lead up to this match, Turkey may struggle to the hit ground running. Mind you, they are yet to score a goal this tournament.
Czech Republic may this encounter although it looks likely that there will be goals at both ends.
Czech Republic to win the game at odds of 2.1 with Betfred.