The Czech Republic are hoping their European fairytale at the expense of Denmark this weekend as they look to book themselves a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2020.
Few gave Jaroslav Silhavy’s team much chance of progressing beyond the group stage, but they haven’t looked back since Patrik Schick’s stunning winner against Scotland. Four points from a tricky group preceded an historic win against the Netherlands, and now the Czechs are out to prove they are a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
Here is the team Silhavy is likely to field as they go looking for a first semi-final spot since 2004.
Tomas Vaclik (GK) – The experienced keeper is without a club after leaving Sevilla, but he remains his country’s number one and has done no harm to his prospects of a big move at Euro 2020 so far.
Vladimir Coufal (RB) – The West Ham defender is yet to miss a minute at the competition and isn’t likely to unless injury or suspension hits.
Ondrej Celustka (CB) – The 32-year-old has established himself as a guaranteed starter for his country and his experience at the back is invaluable, especially in the absence of the suspended Ondrej Kudela.
Tomas Kalas (CB) – Relatively inexperienced on the cap front despite his 28 years of age, but the Bristol City defender has proven his worth to his country at the Euros.
Jan Boril (LB) – Missed the Netherlands game with suspension, but the Slavia Prague captain had started the last ten Czech Republic games for which he had been available and he seems likely to return to the side.
Tomas Holes (CM) – If you can look past the fact he’s a central midfielder wearing no.9 (I can’t), then Holes is a very good player for his country. He’s a relative newcomer to the scene but has played a big part in their last three matches.
Tomas Soucek (CM) – The vice-captain is as dependable as they come and is one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Antonin Barak (AM) – With six goals in 22 caps for his country, Barak has impressed whenever called upon for his country. Made his first start of the tournament against the Netherlands and seems likely to have held his place – though could miss out if Vladimir Darida is back to 100%.
Lukas Masopust (RW) – Has been the Czechs’ go-to right winger for a while now and that seems unlikely to change here.
Patrik Schick (CF) – The man of the moment ever since that audacious strike against Scotland. Schick has four in four at the tournament and finds himself in contention for the golden boot.
Petr Sevcik (LW) – Contention for places is hot in the forward line and Sevcik could easily miss out for the more esteemed Jakub Jankto. But Silhavy may opt to keep faith in what worked against the Dutch, and what worked was Sevcik running himself into the ground up and down the left flank.