Croatia vs Czech Republic: Preview, prediction, team news, betting tips and odds
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Croatia will aim to move on from their opening-day defeat to England when they take on the Czech Republic in Group D at Hampden Park Stadium on Friday.
The Czech Republic currently sit at the summit of the group following Monday’s 2-0 win over Scotland and will aim to build on that impressive performance.
Croatia fell to a 1-0 defeat against England in their opening Euro 2020 game at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
After holding the Three Lions goalless in the first half, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling produced a moment of brilliance to score in the 57th minute.
Date, kick-off time and venue
|Photo: Mr. Fixit's Tips|
Croatia vs Czech Republic is scheduled for a 5pm BST kick-off on Friday, June 18, 2021.
The match will be held at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.
Dalic confirmed that Rangers left-back Borna Barisic missed out against England due to injury and he is not expected back just yet, but Dejan Lovren should be given the green light after a positive MRI scan on his knee problem.
Talisman Luka Modric is also expected to be fit despite training individually earlier this week, and Dalic is reportedly considering partnering the Real Madrid man with Mateo Kovacic in a midfield two, which would see Marcelo Brozovic drop to the bench.
An extra spot in the attack would therefore be up for grabs, and while Ivan Perisic ought to keep his place on the left, it is a free-for-all for the other three attacking spots as Bruno Petkovic, Nikola Vlasic and Josip Brekalo hope to be given the chance to impress.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic have no fresh concerns from their impressive victory over Scotland, but injured goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka has been replaced in the squad by Augsburg's Tomas Koubek.
Schick's brace on matchday one represented his seventh and eighth goals in his last nine starts for the Czech Republic, but highly-rated teenager Adam Hlozek will still be vying for some valuable minutes from the bench.
Croatia possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Vrsaljko, Vida, Caleta-Car, Gvardiol; Modric, Kovacic; Brekalo, Vlasic, Perisic; Petkovic
Czech Republic possible starting lineup:
Vaclik; Coufal, Kalas, Celustka, Boril; Soucek, Kral; Masopust, Darida, Jankto; Schick
|Photo: Getty Images|
The Three Lions had the better of the first half without any real penetration in the final third - barring an early effort from Phil Foden which struck the woodwork - but in the 57th minute, man of the match Kalvin Phillips found Raheem Sterling in acres of space, and the Manchester City man prodded home past Dominik Livakovic.
Zlatko Dalic's men have struggled to maintain their reputation as world-beaters since collecting World Cup runners-up medals in Russia three years ago, and defeat on the opening day sees Croatia occupy third spot in the group with two games left to play - a standing that may yet be enough to progress to the knockout rounds.
Croatia have now picked up a measly two wins from their last 10 games in all competitions, and Dalic has an added incentive to avoid defeat at Hampden Park, as the Chequered Ones have gone 10 major tournaments without losing their second game - winning six and drawing four of their such games so far.
Furthermore, it has been 25 years since Croatia opened their European Championship campaign with back-to-back defeats, but even though they are 26 places higher than the Czech Republic in the FIFA World Rankings, Silhavy's men are the ones with the wind in their sails.
Scotland fans travelled to Hampden Park with an unrivalled sense of optimism at seeing their beloved nation back on the major stage for the first time in 23 years, but the Tartan Army's buoyant mood was quickly ruined by the Patrik Schick show on matchday one.
Without influential defender Kieran Tierney manning the rearguard, Scotland were 1-0 down on the 42-minute mark as Schick headed home his country's opener, and the Bayer Leverkusen forward would proceed to unleash an outrageous effort from 50 yards to propel the Czech Republic to a 2-0 win.
Given the stakes of the game, this will likely be a close and entertaining contest. However, the Croatians have had the clear upper hand in this fixture and we predict they will maintain their fine run of results against the visitors.
Croatia have options in abundance up top as Dalic hopes to get his frontmen firing as soon as possible, and it would be a surprise not to see the fired-up Chequered Ones hit the back of the net at the second time of asking.
Scotland had their moments against the Czech Republic, and while the momentum is certainly with Silhavy's side, we think Croatia will do enough to bag a point - a result which would be much more favourable for the Czechs, however.
Prediction: Croatia 2-0 Czech Republic
Betting tips and odds
Croatia to Win
Croatia have plenty of motivation for the 3pts and their history against the Czech Republic will give them great confidence heading into Friday's clash. Croatia have won two and drawn one of their three previous encounters with the Czech Republic and on paper, the Croatians have the better of the two squads and are more experienced at this level of football.
Both teams have scored in each of the three previous meetings between these two nations, and the Czech Republic have never beaten Croatia before. Both teams have also scored in three of the Czech Republic's last six international matches and while they kept a clean sheet against Scotland, that was largely down to a great performance from goalkeeper Vaclík.
2-1 to Croatia
Games between these two countries are often closely fought and we're certainly not expecting Croatia to cruise to victory on Friday. Croatia have only scored more than two goals in one of their last six matches, while the Czech Republic have only failed to score in two of their last six outings.
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