Euro 2016 Group D Preview: Czech Republic

Czech Republic have mixed results down the years at the European Championships from finalists in 1996 to failing to make it out of their group in 2008. What’s in store for Pavel Vrba’s side this time around?

Czech Republic image: channelnewsasia.com

Czech Republic reached their only final in 1996
image: channelnewsasia.com

History

Czech Republic will compete at their fifth European Championship as an independent nation.

As Czechoslovakia, they won the tournament in 1976. Their first competition solely as Czech Republic came in 1996 where they lost to Germany in the final and also reached the semi-finals in 2004.

Key Player

Petr Cech has made 120 apprearences for Czech Republic image: theguardian.com

Petr Cech has made 120 appearances for Czech Republic
image: theguardian.com

It is unusual for your goalkeeper to be your key man but Arsenal’s Petr Cech offers year of experience to the Czech Republic team and fans will hope he can keep up his good form from Arsenal last season.

After a frustrating 2012-15 season at Chelsea due to lack of games, Cech made the switch across London to rivals Arsenal and bagged the Golden Glove award last season with 16 clean sheets and countless top class saves.

The 34-year-old will probably be a busy man between the posts for Czech Republic but if he continues his fine form into the European Championships, Czech Republic can be confident they won’t concede too many with one of the Premier League’s best in goal.

One to Watch

Hertha Berlin midfielder Vladimir Darida will be at the heart of everything in the heart midfield and it will be his incredible work rate and hunger that will be a key presence in the team.

Vladimir Darida has made over 30 apprearnces for Czech Republic image: theguardian.com

Vladimir Darida has made over 30 appearances for Czech Republic
image: theguardian.com

He broke out onto the scene in 2012 in the Viktoria Plzen team and made an immediate impact with rewards coming in the form of a Czech league title in 2013. He also impressed at Freiburg before making the switch to current side Hertha Berlin last summer.

He didn’t really get the chance to impress at Euro 2012 but since then he has become a key man in Pavel Vrba’s side and he is sure to be a busy man in a deep creative role for Czech Republic.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Arsenal), Tomas Koubek (Slovan Liberec), Tomas Vaclik (Basel).

Defenders: Theodor Gebre Selassie (Werder Bremen), Roman Hubnik (Viktoria Plzen), Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim), Michal Kadlec (Fenerbahce), David Limbersky (Viktoria Plzen), Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday), Tomas Sivok (Bursaspor), Marek Suchy (Basel).

Midfielders: Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin), Borek Dockal (Sparta Prague), Daniel Kolar (Viktoria Plzen), Ladislav Krejci (Sparta Prague), David Pavelka (Kasimpasa), Jaroslav Plasil (Bordeaux), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal), Jiri Skalak (Brighton), Josef Sural (Sparta Prague).

Strikers: David Lafata (Sparta Prague), Tomas Necid (Bursaspor), Milan Skoda (Slavia Prague).

Czech Republic image: 360nobs.com

Czech Republic failed to make it out of their group on two of five previous campaigns
image: 360nobs.com

Prediction: Group Stages

Czech Republic somehow finished top of their qualifying group ahead of fellow Euro 2016 qualifiers Iceland and Turkey but there is nothing in this team that makes me think, they will make an impact in France.

They have a good team spirit but defensively they are a worry having conceded 14 goals in qualifying, they same amount as The Netherlands who failed to qualify. They are an ageing team but you never know what the Czechs will do at a major tournament.

They incredibly topped their group at Euro 2012 but it will be hard to duplicate that feat. Spain will win this group and while Croatia and Turkey compete for second and third, I think the Czechs will be heading home early in fourth place.

Czech Republic’s Fixtures

13 Jun v Spain (1400)

17 Jun v Croatia (1700)

21 Jun v Turkey (2000)

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