The Czech Republic and Spain will face off in their second match of the UEFA Nations League group stage at the Eden Arena in Prague.

The Czech Republic, after starting their 2022/23 UEFA Nations League campaign with a win over Switzerland, will now welcome Spain to the Eden Arena in Prague. Spain, on the other hand, started with a 1-1 draw against Portugal.

Czech Republic’s recent form promises a lot with the side losing just once in their last five games, and twice in their last ten. But both their losses have come in competitive fixtures, not friendlies, against Sweden and Belgium in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The loss to Sweden came in the all-important playoff game for a spot in the upcoming World Cup. Jaroslav Silhavy’s men will want to set the record straight and leave behind the disappointment of missing out on the showpiece event in Qatar later this year with a strong showing in the Nations League.

Meanwhile, Spain will enter the World Cup later this year as one of the favourites. La Roja’s recent form has been brilliant too, and they are unbeaten in their last five matches. They will want to put their first win of the 2022/23 Nations League on board as they prepare for the World Cup.

Their first match of this edition of the UEFA competition finished in a 1-1 draw with Portugal. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Spain, but Ricardo Horta cancelled out Spain’s lead with an 82nd-minute strike.  Luis Enrique’s will have two more Nations League encounters in the ongoing international break, with matches against Switzerland and the Czech Republic scheduled for June 10 and June 13.

Their remaining two group stage matches will be played in September. As we build up to the Nations League encounter in Prague, here’s a look at how both the teams are shaping up.

Team News & Tactics

Czech Republic

Jaroslav Silhavy will be without the services of Patrik Schick and Tomas Petrasek for the Spain encounter. He is expected to continue with a 3-4-3 formation in a bid to crowd the midfield and prevent Sergio Busquets from dominating the proceedings.

Captain Tomas Soucek will also have an important role to play in the match as Spain are expected to have most of the possession. Goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, too, is expected to be called upon more than usual and will need to be on his toes to keep Spain at bay.

Ladislav Krejci, David Zima and Jakub Brabec, who formed the back-three in the win over Switzerland, are expected to retain their spots. They will have the all-important job of keeping Spain from scoring for as long as possible.

Vladimir Coufal and Jaroslav Zeleny will be the two full-backs, with Tomas Soucek and Michal Sadilek manning the midfield. Jakub Jankto, Jan Kuchta and Adam Hlozek will form the three-man attack.

Probable line-up (3-4-3): Vaclik; Zima, Brabec, Krejci; Coufal, Soucek, Sadilek, Zeleny; Jankto, Kuchta, Hlozek

image

Spain

Jose Enrique is dealing with a few injured senior players as well, with Aymeric Laporte, Thiago Alcantara and Eric Garcia, all set to miss the encounter. He could also make a few changes to the XI that took the field against Portugal.

The former Barcelona manager prefers a 4-3-3 with a focus on a possession-based style of football. Spain dominated possession against Portugal and are expected to do the same against the Czech Republic.

Unai Simon will keep his place between the sticks with a back four of Cesar Azpilicueta, Diego Llorente, Pau Torres and Jordi Alba retaining their positions in the starting XI. Koke, Sergio Busquets and Marcos Llorente could form the three-man midfield.

The front three could remain the same with Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata and Pablo Sarabia starting up ahead.

Probable line-up (4-3-3): Simon; Azpilicueta, Diego Llorente, Pau Torres, Alba; Koke, Busquets, Marcos Lorrente; Ferran Torres, Morata, Sarabia

image (1)

Key Stats

  • Spain are unbeaten against the Czech Republic in five encounters with four wins and a defeat.
  • The two sides last met in 2016, with Spain emerging 1-0 winners.
  • The Czech Republic have not lost any of their last six matches at home.
  • Spain last lost an away match back in September 2021 – a 2-1 defeat to Sweden.
  • If the Czech Republic win, it would be their first-ever victory over Spain across competitions.

Player to Watch

Alvaro Morata

Morata was on the scoresheet against Portugal, but his goal was cancelled out later on as the match finished in a draw. He is expected to lead the line again for Spain and will be raring to build on his form. Morata is also a hot property on the transfer market, and a positive outing could see his value improve further.

Prediction

Czech Republic 0-2 Spain

Though the Czech Republic have shown decent form recently, it would be hard for them to overcome a strong Spain side. We expect La Roja to walk out 2-0 winners from the match-up, with Alvaro Morata delivering the goods.

Leave A Comment...

*