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Scotland vs Czech Republic: Context
Without a doubt the most important fixture of the group stage for both of these nations. Both Scotland and the Czech Republic will be identifying this match as the must win game for hope of progression.
Should either or both fail to take maximum points, the threat of facing England and Croatia needing wins in both will be a very tough ask.
Scotland go into the tournament buoyed by the confidence of Steve Clarke having found the perfect system to fit both of his star left backs in the team.
Meanwhile the Czech Republic are encouraged by the excellent seasons of West Ham pair Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal.
Scotland vs Czech Republic: Head-to-head
Scotland go into the game as outright favourites much down to the recent success they have had of the Czech side.
The pair were both in the same Nations League group in 2020 and Steve Clarke’s men won both matches 1-0 and 2-1. Their meeting prior to that was also a victory for Scotland in 2016 in a friendly.
Prior to this however, Scotland won just once in their previous 5 meetings. A much better Czech Republic side took the win in the other 4.
However, it does seem that the tide has turned at just the right time for Scotland.
Scotland vs Czech Republic: Key battles
The middle of the park will see two Premier League heavyweights in the aforementioned Soucek and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay clash. Both physical players who have a knack of scoring goals could define the middle third territory.
Meanwhile, further EPL battles will take place on the flank. Kieran Tierney playing in the left-centre back role with Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson in a wing-back position will face Coufal. All three like to get forward but Tierney’s more reserved role for his national team could see Coufal outnumbered and restricted in his own forays forward.
The Czech Republic do have a focal point in Patrik Schick and the 3-man Scotland defence will need to be wary of his ability in the air and movement as he looks to break Scottish hearts.
Scotland vs Czech Republic: The subplots
Andrew Robertson is all too familiar with the quality in the Czech Republic side. He has even been heard directly mentioning the EPL duo leading up to the match.
“I’ve played against Soucek and Coufal from West Ham and I know how good they are, they’re full of quality,” Robertson said.
Robertson has history with striker Patrik Schick. The pair were involved in the Champions League’s highest scoring knockout tie. An aggregate score of 7-6 saw the Reds squeeze through after a late Roma comeback threatened to spoil the party.
Robertson would see his Liverpool side fall in the next round, the final, and watch Real Madrid lift the trophy. However, he would only need to wait another year before lifting the silverware himself.
Scotland vs Czech Republic: Predicted line-ups
Scotland: Marshall, Cooper, Hanley, Tierney, Fraser, McTominay, McGregor, McGinn, Robertson, Christie, Adams
Czech Republic: Vaclik, Coufal, Brabec, Celustka, Boril, Kral, Soucek, Darida, Masopust, Jankto, Schick
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|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United FC||0||11|
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|Luiz, Douglas||Aston Villa FC||0||8|
|Holgate, Mason||Everton FC||0||9|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1||8|
|Soucek, Tomas||West Ham United FC||1||7|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United FC||0||8|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||7|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||8|
|Andersen, Joachim||Fulham FC||1||7|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United FC||1||7|
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|Dallas, Stuart||Leeds United||0||7|
|McGoldrick, David||Sheffield United FC||0||7|
|Reid, Bobby||Fulham FC||0||7|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||14|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||12|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City FC||11|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||10|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||10|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||9|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||8|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||8|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||8|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||8|
|Gross, Pascal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||8|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||8|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||7|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||7|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||7|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||7|
|Eze, Eberechi||Crystal Palace FC||7|
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|Robertson, Andrew||Liverpool FC||7|