England have carried a perfect record through Euro 2020 qualifying to date and can again be expected to triumph away to Czech Republic at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague on Friday (7.45pm, live on ITV).
England began the qualifying process by thrashing the same team 5-0 at Wembley in March, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick. They have continued in a similar vein since, notching 14 more goals in seeing off Montenegro, Bulgaria and Kosovo.
The result is that England lead Group A, three points clear of the Czechs in second and four ahead of Kosovo in third, despite having played one less match than all of the other teams in the group. Given that both the first and second-place teams will qualify automatically for the tournament, they are in a very strong position.
In fact, another win away in Prague would see England all but confirm their place at Euro 2020, as it would move them six points clear of their opponents. Even if England picked up no further points from their last three fixtures and the Czechs won both of theirs, England would still finish ahead of them by virtue of their superior head-to-head record.
Only Kosovo finishing level with both could possibly create a nevertheless unlikely scenario in which that wouldn’t be enough. Anyway, any doubts could be ended by England taking at least a point away to Bulgaria in their second match of this international break. Gareth Southgate has said that sealing qualification is the primary goal over the next week.
Southgate’s squad for that task features three players – Fikayo Tomori, James Maddison and Tyrone Mings – who would make their debuts if used over these two fixtures. There is also the in-form Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, capped before in friendlies, but seemingly in line for a first competitive cap. That would require him definitely to choose England over Nigeria, the country of his parents.
There are not, though, places for some players who have been mainstays of Southgate’s time in charge, mainly, as he explained, due to issues with form and fitness. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jesse Lingard and Kyle Walker have all been left out.
England’s offensive power has been the prime driver of their triumphs in qualifying. The formula of Harry Kane as a central striker flanked by Sterling and one of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford is again likely to prove too much for a Czech side who had no reply in the first meeting between the sides.
Jaroslav Silhavy’s side have more or less recovered from that opening defeat at Wembley, the first competitive meeting between the two sides in their current forms, by winning three of their subsequent four qualifiers. Those victories were at home to Bulgaria and home and away to Montenegro. They did lose away to Kosovo but still have a point advantage at this stage over their only realistic challengers for second in the group and a place at Euro 2020.
Unlike Kosovo, Czech Republic don’t have the backup of a playoff berth from the UEFA Nations League to fall back on in their quest to continue their record of qualifying for every European Championship since the split of Czechoslovakia in 1994. They would certainly gladly take a point or more against England, but the key fixtures for them come next month in their final two matches at home to Kosovo and away to Bulgaria.
The Czechs do have a couple of interesting attacking threats in the form of Patrik Schick, scorer of four of their nine goals in qualifying, and Sampdoria midfielder Jakub Jankto, who has provided three assists. They have a few other players from the major European leagues, but are otherwise an average team with a large contingent from their domestic league.
Our Preview’s Czech Republic vs England Betting Tips Verdict
The Czechs are unlikely to prove much of a match for an England side who have already showed themselves capable of blowing them away. Indeed they are as large as 7/1 with our recommended online bookmakers to win this home game, while England are generally 4/9.
Czech Republic are likely to employ a slightly more cautious approach this time around and so the margin of victory probably won’t be as large, but it should still be a fairly comfortable win for Southgate’s squad.
- Bet on England -1 goal on Betfair’s handicap market @ 5/4. Note: If England only win by a margin of one goal and the result is a draw after the handicap is applied, then your stake will be lost. England need to win by a margin of two goals or more to win this wager.
- Compare Euro 2020 outright winner odds from top bookies.
Compare Czech Rep vs England Match Odds from Best UK Bookies