England remain favourites to win group ahead of Czech clash

Gareth SouthgateGareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate
England face the Czech Republic in their Euros 2020 group match with both teams on four points and eyeing up a win that will see them through to the knockout stages as group winners.

Both countries will have in mind that the winner of Group D will likely face the runner-up of Group F, which will be one of France, Germany or Portugal. However, due to Spain’s stuttering Euro 2020 so far, the runner-up of Group D could still play La Roja if they carry on their inconsistent form against Slovakia on Wednesday.

England were heavily criticised by supporters and pundits for a lack of ideas against a robust and organised Scotland side that were much improved from their opening game defeat to the Czechs.

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Friday’s 0-0 stalemate at Wembley dampened the mood and prospects of the Three Lions who know that if they’re going to get to the final stages of the tournament, their attacking game-play will need more speed and intelligence.

The Czech Republic got exactly what they needed against Croatia and avoided defeat to reach the summit of the group. Patrik Schick’s penalty in the first half was cancelled out by Ivan Perisic’s powerful blast in the second with both teams failing to have the required quality to win the game.

This put the Czechs on four points with a +2 goal difference going into their game with England. Manager Jaroslav Silhavy will have watched Scotland leave Wembley with a clean sheet against England knowing if his side can imitate that defensive resilience, they’ll stay in first place in Group D.

England are 3/5 favourites with sportsbook SBK for the match while the Czech Republic are 15/2 to pull off an upset, however, Southgate will know especially after the Czech’s first two games that they have enough ability to find a way past England.

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Southgate will take heart in the fact his England team did easily dismantle the Czechs at Wembley 5-0 in qualifying for this tournament although they did lose the return game 1-0 in Prague. England replicating a sizeable win and bagging three points by scoring more than 2.5 goals - as they did in March 2019 - is 13/5.

England are still the favourites to win the group at 3/5 with the Czech Republic at 8/5. The Czechs know a point is all they need to do this so it’ll be fascinating to see how they approach the game.

They do have the joint top scorer in the competition currently with Schick 4/1 to score anytime. The Bayer Leverkusen centre-forward is still the only Czech player to score in this tournament with West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek yet to get off the mark.

Much was made of Harry Kane’s uneventful display against Scotland with concerns that he’s playing through injury or his campaign for Tottenham Hotspur has taken its toll on his fitness. Kane remains England’s best source of goals, according to the odds and he’s 5/4 to score anytime following Southgate’s confirmation that he will start the match.

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Jack Grealish’s cameo last Friday set pulses racing even though he couldn’t quite influence the play as much as he would have liked. There is considered pressure for him to start and is 9/1 to open the scoring with his first England goal should he get the nod.

The relentless repetition of ‘football’s coming home’ paused during England’s 0-0 stalemate against Scotland, but the excitement around the international side could return to fever-pitch levels with a strong performance against the Czech Republic.

England are currently 9/1 to win the tournament and return the sport to its metaphorical abode. France remain the 7/2 favourites, with Italy and Germany 6/1, and Belgium 15/2.

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