Competition: UEFA Euro 2016
Fixture: Spain vs Czech Republic
Date: Monday, June 13, 2016
Venue: Stadium Municipal, Toulouse
Kick off time: 1300 hours GMT
The favourites from Group D, Spain will kick-off their UEFA European Championship 2016 against Czech Republic. These sides have met a total of nine times in the past. Statistics show us that Spain have had the upper hand with a total of five wins in comparison to Czech Republic’s three with the ninth game a draw. Spain has not lost any of the last five meetings. Owing to a stronger side and possibly a team that is strong enough to emerge as winners of the tournament, they should easily win this game.
Spain’s form: L-W-W-D-D
Spain is currently ranked seventh in the world by FIFA. One paper they have one of the strongest teams. Many would expect them to reach the semi-finals with ease.
Unfortunately they had a dismal world cup outing two years ago. But one can safely assume that as just a hiccup. They are current holders of the UEFA European Championship and will give everything to start with a win and possibly retain the championship.
In all honesty, Spain is arguably the greatest national football team the world has seen in over a decade. The manager, Vicente Del Bosque has left out a few notable names for this tournament. Due to that, and the last FIFA tournament, the aura of invincibility that they once possessed is obviously not the same.
Their 0-1 loss to Georgia raised a lot of eyebrows. Are Spain once again going to slip-up when it matters most? The Players and manager believe that such road blocks come along the way, but that changes and affects nothing.
Czech Republic’s form: L-W-W-D-L
Czech Republic, just like their opponents on the night, lost 1-2 in their final warm-up game against Korea Republic.
Pundits have clearly mentioned that Czech Republic is the weakest of teams in the group. With the likes of Turkey, Croatia and Spain pitted against them, coming off with even a single point in the group stage will be a huge achievement.
The only notable players in their squad are Arsenal players, Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky. Apart from these two, the rest in the line-up are not part of any major club team.
What will bother the fans and the management the most is that they did not manage to hold on to a single clean sheet during the qualification stages. Taking on the likes of attacking teams like Croatia and Spain, they will find it really hard to hold onto clean sheets.
In an ideal football world, Spain should be able to beat Czech Republic by quite a margin.
Key Players and Team News:
Spain: This team is full of stars. Every position that they have is occupied by a very well established, experienced and highly prolific player. The quad boasts of players like David De Gea, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, Koke Alvaro Morata and many others. Spain could have played two quality sides in this competition and both those sides could be capable of getting far in the competition.
Del Bosque has left out big names like Juan Mata, Isco and Diego Costa. This certainly surprised a few.
However, from the playing squad Koke will be one to watch out for. The pacey winger is a threat on the counter. His ability to cut in on the inside of the defenders and shoot even if he gets a little pace is something that the defenders will find difficult to handle.
He has the ability to switch flanks and play on either side as well. So, many can expect Koke to play an integral part, especially if Spain were to go on and reach the last four in this tournament.
Czech Republic: The young and pacey left winger Ladislav Krejci, had a very good season for this club. He contributed a total of eight goals and nine assists. He is one of the quality midfielders in the club however lacks experience at the highest level.
Things do not look too good for the Czech side, if they want to have any creativity, it will have to come through Krejci. He does have Rosicky on his side, however with age not Rosicky’s side, it’s unlikely that he will play the full ninety minutes.
A Spanish win is placed at 1/2 with Bet365. This is a fairly safe bet. Something will have to go terribly wrong for Spain not come out with a clean and easy victory.
If you fancy yourself, we can expect a goal from tricky and pacey striker Manuel Agudo Nolito. As anytime goal scorer the odds are placed at 11/5 with Bet365. Given his movement and form that he brings in from the recently concluded domestic season, he is expected to be one of the top performing strikers of the tournament.
An unlikely win for Czech Republic is placed at 7/1 with Bet365 while a draw between these two sides is placed at 3/1 with William Hill.
I’d go out on a limb and say they will probably score three goals if not more.