Last updated June 23rd, 2021
England’s third and final group game at Euro 2020 takes places on Tuesday (8pm; TV: Live on ITV), as they take on Czech Republic at Wembley.
After a disappointing effort last time against Scotland, the Three Lions will be hoping to top the group with a win, but a Czech side that currently tops Group D on goal difference might have something to say about that.
Tournament football, during the early parts at least, is all about getting what you need and progressing, so in that respect, England have already done just about enough. Even if they were to lose against Czech Republic, they’d almost certainly go through with four points. However, if we’re talking about performances, the English have disappointed.
Southgate’s men could be forgiven for being a bit subdued when beating Croatia by a goal to nil on match-day one, but it is hard to take positives from the 0-0 draw against Scotland. The Three Lions looked lacking in ideas offensively and they had very few scoring opportunities. They weren’t exactly solid in defence either, despite keeping a clean sheet.
The Scots were allowed to forge some high-quality scoring opportunities, and but for Jordan Pickford and some last-ditch defending, England would have walked off the field at Wembley with no points.
Lack of ideas
It looks as though England have a real problem in offensive areas. They are two matches in and we’ve yet to seen Southgate’s men enjoy a sustained period of creativity. In fact, they’ve created little overall. Against the Croats, England registered just eight shots, only two of which hit the target, while they mustered nine against Scotland, working the keeper on just a single occasion.
That is poor but combine it with the fact that they’ve posted expected goals figures of 0.9 for in both matches and it’s clear to see that the Three Lions have floundered in the final third. Not enough chances are being created and opposition keepers aren’t being worked enough. The inclusion of mercurial talent Jack Grealish may change that, but will he start?
The Czech Republic will come into this game in buoyant mood. They’ve played some decent football, haven’t looked easy to get at, have their main man Patrick Schick bang in form, and crucially, know that they only need a point to go through as Group D winners.
The game is of course in England, so it is the Three Lions who are 4/7 favourites with the top United Kingdom bookies, but the Czech Republic will have seen little to be frightened of. Moreover, their own efforts should mean that they fancy their chances of getting a result. After all, they held off Scotland, while punishing them twice at the other end, which is not something that England can say they have done. The Czechs also looked competitive enough against Croatia when earning a point on match-day two.
England and Czech Republic have seen a reasonable amount of each other in recent times, as they shared a group in qualifying. At Wembley, England made light work of beating Tuesday’s opponents, winning by five goals to nil, but it’s fair to say that the real Czech Republic didn’t turn up that day.
In contrast, when the pair met in Prague not long after, the Czech’s earned revenge, winning by two goals to one. Both of those matches were in 2019 and have little bearing on the here and now, especially as things are completely different in the heat of a major tournament.
England too short?
As touched on in this match preview above, England are strong favourites going into this game, but that was the case ahead of their game against Scotland, and we all know how that turned out. Based on what we have seen from the teams in Group D so far, it is hard to agree with odds of 4/7 on the England win. As was the case ahead of the disappointing draw against the Scottish, Southgate’s team simply don’t warrant such a price.
Where’s the bet?
One bet that does catch the eye is Both Teams to Score (BTTS). Yes, England have been poor offensively, but that should spark changes. If the likes of Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho come in, England’s offensive threat increases, which bodes well when we look at the fact that Czech Republic have conceded expected goals figures of 1.8 and 1.1 in the tournament so far.
On the flipside, Wembley’s visitors carry an offensive threat. We’ve seen how useful Patrick Schick can be in front of goal, while they created a very encouraging 2.0 expected goals against Croatia, which suggests that they could really hurt an England side that looked anything but defensively solid against Scotland last time out.
For those looking to get involved financially ahead of an intriguing clash, a bet on both teams to score offers the best value for money, as the pair battle it out for the right to progress as group winners. So the betting tip for this preview is:
- Bet both teams to score @ 6/5.