The Czech Republic and Denmark will face off against each other at Azerbaijan’s Baku Olympic Stadium in a Euro 2020 quarter-final.
The Locomotive have gone under the radar in this tournament, regularly putting in disciplined shifts of workmanlike performances, while Bayer Leverkusen spearhead, Patrik Schick keeps banging in the goals.
On the other hand, the Danes begun with defeats to Finland (1-0) and Belgium (2-1), but have now turned their fortunes around with convincing wins over Russia (4-1) and Wales (4-0), and are now just two victories away from reaching the final.
Euro 2020 – Quarter-final
Saturday 3 July
Baku Olympic Stadium
To Win (90 min)
Czech Republic 26/10
Czech Republic 14/10
The Czech Republic have been over-reliant on their striker, Schick, who’s scored four of his nation’s five goals at Euro 2020. The goalscoring burden needs to be shared going forward and the likes of youngster Adam Hlozek, veteran Tomas Pekhart or Matej Vydra could be included in the starting 11 to provide support up top in the opposition’s box.
The Czech’s midfield trio of Antonin Barak, Tomas Holes and Tomas Soucek were instrumental in the round of 16 victory over the Netherlands, while captain Vladimir Darida missed the clash through injury.
The Locomotive work well together with each player’s role supporting the next. Defensively, coach Jaroslav Silhavy keeps the shape of the team very narrow, with two of the three defensive midfielders staying put in front of the back four at all times.
Schick is the man in form for the Czechs but the man to watch is Soucek. His ability to break through the lines and drive through the opposition with the ball at his feet is one of his team’s biggest strengths, along with his impressive goalscoring prowess in aerial duels.
Denmark played all three of their games on home soil and their round of 16 victory against Wales away in the Netherlands. The Danes made their intentions clear with resounding wins over Russia and Wales, scoring four goals in each encounter, coming into this clash in fine form.
In defence, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is protected by a formidable backline with the likes of Andreas Christensen, Jannik Vestergaard and captain Simon Kjaer providing a solid axis behind the double pivot midfield of Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand has this group of players well-drilled and properly prepared for each match, despite only keeping one clean sheet in four games, I strongly believe that his team is difficult to break down.
We’re set for a tactical battle between two evenly balanced opponents who won’t want to give anything away too early, making sure they keep themselves in the contest. If it goes to extra-time or penalties, expect Schmeichel’s class to come shining through.
RB Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen will be racing against time to recover from a hamstring injury. The versatile forward is the biggest weapon in the Danish arsenal. If he misses this clash, Denmark would have to rely on Martin Braithwaite to put the ball in the net.
Verdict: Denmark Win 11/10
Denmark have had the upper hand over the Czech Republic in recent meetings and I’m confident for them to continue the trend. Back the Danes at 11/10 to win in 90 minutes.