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Preview: Czech Republic vs. England - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Czech Republic vs. England - prediction, team news, lineups:ID:374512: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Friday's Euro 2020 qualifier between Czech Republic and England, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
By , European Football Editor | 7d

England will face Czech Republic on Friday night knowing that a win would see them book their spot in the finals of Euro 2020 with three matches to spare.

Gareth Southgate's side have collected 12 points from their four Group A matches thus far, while Czech Republic are second in the section with nine points having also played a game more.

Match preview

Three wins, zero draws and two defeats - that is how Czech Republic have performed in Group A, with a total of nine points leaving them second in the section behind England. They have played a game more than Friday's opponents, meaning that this week's contest is huge.

A defeat for Czech Republic would mean that they would be unable to catch England at the summit, with group tiebreakers settled on head-to-head records - and the Three Lions won 5-0 at Wembley Stadium in the reverse match back in March.

Jaroslav Silhavy's side have won three of their four group matches since the heavy loss in London, beating Bulgaria and Montenegro home and away, although they did suffer a 2-1 defeat in Kosovo on September 7.

A win on Friday night would certainly open up the section, but Czech Republic still have two tough games after this one at home to Kosovo and away to Bulgaria. The loss to England earlier in the group was expected, although the defeat to Kosovo last month would have come as a surprise.

The European nation have never beaten England in an international fixture, which is an indication of the size of their task on Friday night. Silhavy can call upon the services of a number of talented players, though, and the Three Lions will certainly need to be wary of the threat on offer from the hosts.

England have not really needed to break a sweat in Group A thus far, winning all four of their matches and scoring 19 times in the process to top the group with 12 points. Another victory in this game would mean that Czech Republic would be unable to catch them in the section.

Southgate's side scored 10 times in back-to-back wins over Czech Republic and Montenegro before putting four past Bulgaria at Wembley on September 7. Kosovo certainly gave the Three Lions a good game at St Mary's on September 10, but the home side ultimately ran out 5-3 winners.

In terms of what is ahead, England will travel to Bulgaria, host Montenegro and visit Kosovo in their three matches after this one, and it would be one of the biggest shocks in history if they somehow failed to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020 from such a comfortable position.

Having impressed en route to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, much is expected of England next summer. They are now a team used to winning football matches, although the fixtures against the best sides in European football are where the nation will be properly assessed.

For now, though, their focus will be on picking up another three points in Prague on Friday night, which would leave Southgate with room for experimentation in the latter stages of the group.

Czech Republic form: LWWLW

England form: WWWW

Team News

Czech Republic boss Silhavy was unable to select either Pavel Kaderabek or Tomas Kalas for the clash with England, but forward Patrik Schick is available despite a slight injury concern.

Schick has netted four times in his last four appearances for his country, and the RB Leipzig forward is expected to be joined in the XI by the captain Vladimir Darida.

Sevilla's Tomas Vaclik should start between the sticks, while Tomas Soucek and Alex Kral should both feature in the middle of the park.

Dean Henderson, Tyrone Mings, Fikayo Tomori and James Maddison are the four uncapped players in the latest England squad, which does not include the likes of Dele Alli, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jesse Lingard.

Tammy Abraham's incredible form this season has also seen him selected, although it would be a surprise if the attacker featured against Czech Republic due to the presence of Harry Kane.

Raheem Sterling is certain to join Kane in the final third, leaving Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford to battle for the other spot. The former took his chance with two goals against Kosovo last time out, though, and it would not be a surprise to see the Borussia Dortmund attacker chosen over an out-of-form Rashford.

The spot alongside Harry Maguire in central defence is also open, although it seems likely that Joe Gomez will get the nod over the likes of Michael Keane, Mings and Tomori.

Ross Barkley is also expected to keep his spot in midfield alongside Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson. Fabian Delph, however, will not be involved having pulled out of the squad due to a hamstring problem.

Czech Republic possible starting lineup: Vaclik; Coufal, Suchy, Celustka, Boril; Kral, Soucek; Masopust, Darida, Jankto; Schick

England possible starting lineup: Pickford; Alexander-Arnold, Maguire, Gomez, Chilwell; Henderson, Rice, Barkley; Sterling, Kane, Sancho

We say: Czech Republic 1-2 England

There is no question that Czech Republic have the ability to hurt England on Friday night, but we are finding it difficult to back against Southgate's side due to their impressive form in the section thus far.

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