Czech Republic will be looking to recover from the thrashing received at the hands of England when they face another footballing giant in the form of Brazil.
Once a giant in European football, Czech Republic have started their rebuilding phase of late. A small renaissance under Jaroslav Silhavy was halted by England in the opening game for Group A in the European Championships 2020 Qualifiers. It will now be up to the Czechs to bounce back and show their recent form was not temporary but a sign of things to come from the youthful squad.
For Brazil, it has been about recovering from their rather underwhelming 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign. The Samba Boys are undefeated since the end of the World Cup but have not exactly set the stage alight with their performances, which will be a cause for concern.
Their last match was another example of how inconsistent Brazil have become, as Panama held them to a 1-1 draw. Eager to string together a run of positive results, they will hope to take advantage of Czech Republic’s potentially low morale after the 5-0 mauling at the hands of England.
The two teams have never met each other before and it will be interesting to see how the match pans out. We now take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Tomas Vaclik should come in for Jiri Pavlenka in goal after the latter let in 5 goals against England. The Sevilla star though, should have a similar back four in front of him. The only potential change could see Marek Suchy come into the central defence, with Ondrej Celustka the likelier one to make way.
In midfield, Vladimir Darida should fall back into the pivot role to partner Tomas Soucek, with David Pavelka making way for Borek Dockal, who will slot in the number 10 role for Czech Republic against Brazil.
Jakub Jankto and Theodor Gebre Selassie should retain their place on either side of Dockal. Patrik Schick should start upfront again, with Matej Vydra likely to come on, should the need arise.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Vaclik; Kaderabek, Kalas, Suchy, Novak; Soucek, Darida; Selassie, Dockal, Jankto; Schick
Ederson could start in goal for Brazil once again. Alex Telles was handed his first senior cap for Brazil against Panama and should continue at left-back against Czech Republic. Eder Militao could see his partner change, with Marquinhos likely to come in for the experienced Miranda, as Tite continues to test out the young guns in the friendlies.
We could see Allan being afforded a start instead of Casemiro at the base of the three-man midfield, with Arthur and Lucas Paqueta likely to stay put, should Tite go for a more fluid style of football in the midfield.
In attack, we could even see a revamped front three, with Everton coming in on the left and David Neres likely to be handed his first senior cap, stationed on the right. Gabriel Jesus should come in for Roberto Firmino upfront.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Fagner, Militao, Marquinhos, Telles; Paqueta, Allan, Arthur; Neres, Jesus, Everton
1. Czech Republic have conceded 5 goals twice in their last six matches.
2. Three of Czech Republic’s last 5 matches have ended with a 1-0 scoreline.
3. Brazil had recorded six straight clean sheets after the World Cup, only for the streak to be ended by Panama.
4. Still, Brazil have conceded just one goal in their last seven games combined.
5. In fact, Brazil have conceded in just three of their last 16 matches.
Player to Watch
8 goals and 13 assists at club level was enough for David Neres to convince Tite to hand him his first senior call-up to the Brazilian National Team. The winger is expected to make his debut for Brazil against Czech Republic and could stake a claim to be a regular, especially after the trepid performance from the attackers against Panama.
The 22-year-old should start his senior Brazil career with a bang.
Czech Republic 0-2 Brazil
Tite will want his squad to be more expressive on the pitch after the 1-1 draw against Panama. Changes will be in the offing as the manager continues to experiment with his options. But, the fluid Samba soccer should prevail over Czech Republic, who will struggle to score once again.
The former giants have improved a lot, but their defeat to England showed they are still a fair distance away from being considered Tier 1 in Europe for now. And we could see the same happen against Brazil. We expect a comfortable win for the Samba boys.