Czech Republic and Denmark look to continue their excellent runs at Euro 2020 in this Saturday’s 5pm quarter-final (UK time).
Neither side was expected to reach the semi-finals but that will be the goal when they travel to Baku, where each will stake their claim to be Euro 2020’s true surprise package, the Croatia of the 2018 World Cup if you will.
Czech Republic qualified for the last-16 as one of the best third-placed sides in the group stage, finishing behind England and Croatia on four points. It led to a tricky draw against Netherlands, one they were expected to lose. But the Czechs knocked the Dutch out rather comfortably with a 2-0 win on the day.
Czech Republic v Denmark odds with William Hill…
- Czech Republic to win in 90 minutes: 14/5
- Draw in 90 minutes: 11/5
- Denmark to win in 90 minutes: 11/10
For Denmark, their Euro 2020 journey looked in danger of ending at the group stage as they lost their opening two matches against Finland and Belgium. But a 4-1 win over Russia was enough for Denmark to finish second (top of a mini-league between themselves, Russia and Finland). Any doubts about their quality and right to be in the knockout stages were extinguished in the last-16 as Denmark thrashed Wales 4-0, putting them one step closer to a dream final and 1992 repeat.
How will Czech Republic and Denmark line up?
Czech Republic will be able to call upon Jan Boril once again after the defender missed the win over Netherlands due to suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards. Captain Vladimir Darida is also in contention, having missed the win through a knock.
Daniel Wass should return for Denmark after illness, while Simon Kjaer and Thomas Delaney are also expected to start having overcome respective injury problems. Yussuf Poulsen watched the win over Wales from the bench and has revealed he won’t be fit to play the full match against Czech Republic, but could still start if required.
“I doubt I’ll be able to play 90 minutes, but I will be able to play 60 mins as against Belgium and Russia,” he told reporters.
“At least that’s also what our medical staff confirmed to me that I should be able to do.
“We still have some time before the match, but as it looks now, it seems that I can perform over a longer period, without there being many problems with it”
Patrik Schick looking to join Czech royalty
Czech Republic entered Euro 2020 looking to replicate the heroics of Euro 2004 when they reached the semi-finals, a team boasting the likes of Pavel Nedved, Milan Baros, Petr Cech and so many other cult heroes.
Despite their semi-final exit to eventual winners Greece, Baros ended Euro 2004 as top scorer for the tournament, netting five times in total, with only Antoine Griezmann (six in 2016) and Michel Platini (nine in 1984) managing more goals in a single edition of the European Championships. It is also the most by any Czech player at a major international tournament. After four games, Patrik Schick is just one goal behind Baros’ tally and one off top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo (5), whose Portugal side was eliminated by Belgium. Another strike here could be crucial for Czech Republic to benefit.
Schick entered the tournament off the back of a tough year at club level in which he scored nine goals in 29 Bundesliga matches for Bayer Leverkusen, an average amount but fewer than most top-four challengers would expect from their main striker. However, he has put that firmly behind him for Czech Republic to continue his excellent record.
The 25-year-old has scored 15 goals in 30 appearances for his national team, with six of those coming in eight appearances since the start of 2021. At Euro 2020, only England have prevented Schick from scoring, with the Bayer Leverkusen striker netting twice in Czech Republic’s opener against Scotland, including that goal from close to the halfway line.
He then scored a penalty against Croatia and opened the scoring in the 2-0 win over Netherlands that sent Czech Republic to the quarter-finals. But while he is closing in on equalling Baros, assistant coach Tomas Galasek likened Schick to Baros’ former partner, Jan Koller.
“Bari [Baros] played off the main striker so I would liken Patrik more to Jan Koller, but they are different players,” he told Uefa’s website.
“Baros played around Koller, who set up some goals for him. Patrik is creating them on his own and has a strong left foot.”
Czech Republic vs Denmark scoreline prediction:
Czech Republic 1-0 Denmark: Denmark are everyone’s favourite second team but, after winning just once in the group stages, their three-point total was the lowest of any group runner-up at Euro 2020. In the Round of 16, they hammered a Wales side that really didn’t turn up on the day and capitulated late on. Armed with the extremely dangerous Patrik Schick and Tomas Soucek, the Czech Republic could shock the Danes here, setting up a tantalising semi-final clash with England or Ukraine.