Poland and the Czech Republic have both already qualified for next summer’s European Championships, while Slovakia and Hungary can still progress via their play-off paths. Of the two teams that have already made it, Poland are the favorites to go furthest but could the Czech Republic spring a surprise?
A good record in Europe
The Czech Republic are no strangers to pulling off big performances at the Euro championships. They were runners-up at Euro 1996, semi-finalists in 2004 and quarter-finalists in 2012. Previously, as Czechoslovakia, they came third in 1960 and 1980 and won the tournament in 1976. Only five nations have better records at the tournament and only three have won it more than once.
In contrast, Poland have only qualified for the European Championships on four occasions and their best result was a quarter-final finish in 2016. The Czech Republic have a good pedigree in this competition and will be looking to emulate previous successes once again.
A well-balanced team
In previous years, the Czech Republic team has had a mix of one or two high profile stars complemented by some talented if lesser-known squad members.
This time, the team is once again blessed with a couple of star players. Midfielder Vladimír Darida is the captain of the national team and a regular for German Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin. In 2017, he was voted Czech footballer of the year. Meanwhile, Tomáš Vaclík is the first-choice goalkeeper for Spanish side Sevilla. He has represented his country at six different age levels and has made 28 appearances for the senior team.
Other key players include striker Michael Krmenčík of Club Brugge, Ladislav Krejč of Serie A club Bologna and Pavel Kadeřábek who plays for German Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim. Overall, the team looks well-balanced.
Current odds on the Czech Republic
The European Championships will attract betting interest from all over the globe. Wagering across all the top football events is becoming more popular as markets such as India and Africa continue to grow. Sites such as BetJaw.com have been set up to help bettors navigate the wagering options in these regions. Many punters will bet on outcomes such as outright winner but some like to be on more niche markets such as how far a team will progress in a tournament.
Currently, the Czech Republic are priced at 251.00 to win the tournament. More prices and updated odds will emerge as the tournament gets closer.
So how far can the Czech Republic go at the European Championships?
The Czech team emerged from a qualifying group featuring favorites England and were responsible for the Three Lions’ only defeat of the campaign (and their first qualifying defeat in 10 years) thanks to a 2-1 win in Prague. They have been drawn against England in the Group Stage once again and will also face World Cup finalists Croatia and either Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia. Croatia topped their qualifying group but only five points separated them from fourth-placed Hungary.
The Czech Republic’s match against England will take place at Wembley, so it will be like a home game for Gareth Southgate’s men – the BBC documented how the last time the two teams met there, the English won 5-0.
Their other two matches will be held at Hampden Park in Glasgow. With that in mind, the game against Croatia could be crucial for Jaroslav Šilhavý’s men. If they can win that, they could put themselves in a good position to reach the second round. And based on their past performances, they should not be ruled out.