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John McGinn to find himself in battle with Czechs in Hampden
Free Euro 2020 soccer tips, best bets and analysis for Scotland v Czech Republic in Group D on Monday.
Where to look
BBC One, 2 p.m. Monday
1pt 2-1 general
Steve Clarke made his young Scottish team hard to beat. Their energy and enthusiasm are a good counterpoint to the experience of the Czechs, although a lack of sharpness has often been the weakness of the Scots and could cost them three points.
John Fleck is available after missing Scotland’s warm-up matches with Covid. Che Adams and Lydon Dykes are expected to lead the line.
Head coach Jaroslav Silhavy has a decision to make in midfield with wide Lukas Provod missing with a knee injury. Alex Kral could get the green light.
The wait is almost over for Scotland, but their big comeback to tournament football could be spoiled by a well-trained Czech side.
It’s been 23 years since the Tartan Army had a summer competition to get them excited and with two of their three group games at Hampden Park, expectations are high.
First in Glasgow are the Czech Republic, a nation which had its last European Football Championship experience in Great Britain reaching the Euro 96 final. It has accumulated considerable experience since then, qualifying for each Euro in the meantime.
While the Czechs have become regulars at the Euro, Scotland has been forced to watch from a distance, so far. After so many qualifying failures, Steve Clarke was the man who got the Scots across the finish line, trusting a group of young and untested players.
Nine of the squad weren’t even born the last time Scotland played a European Championship 25 years ago, when they are the least experienced of any nation at Euro 2020 with a total of 482 selections.
However, this team has grown together and their unity has never been better demonstrated than the penalty shoot-out victory in Serbia which ensured the qualification.
As a young team they continue to make mistakes, losing to Israel and Slovakia after their Belgrade triumph, but have looked sharper this year, especially in the 2-2 draw against the Netherlands in warm-ups. .
Scotland will also gain confidence from their two Nations League victories against the Czechs last year. However, these results slightly flattered Clarke’s team, who beat a Czech second team in Prague after a Covid outbreak saw the first-choice team quarantined. They were then dominated by Jaroslav Silhavy’s men at Hampden but produced a landslide 1-0 victory.
The loss was one of many recent games where the Czech Republic failed to secure their fair rewards – they also lost 1-0 to Wales in March despite their better side on the evening.
Silhavy has put together a squad with the right mix of pace and power that could prevent Scotland from enjoying a winning comeback on the big football stage.
The Czech Republic have scored at least once in ten of their last 15 games.
Penalty shooter: Ryan Christie
Free kick assistant: Ryan Christie
Aerial threat set-piece: Grant Hanley
Card magnet: John McGinn
Penalty shooter: Vladimir Darida
Free kick assistant: Vladimir Darida
Aerial threat set-piece: Tomas Soucek
Card magnet: Vladimir Darida
Place Hampden Park, Glasgow
Fans allowed 12,000
Time zone BST
FIFA rankings Scotland # 44, Czech Republic # 40
Both teams score
The Czech Republic have failed to keep their clean sheet in their last nine away games and could struggle to contain Scotland. They have a knack for disturbing hosts, however, scoring in ten of their last 15 outings.
John McGinn to book
The pugnacious John McGinn is likely to be at the heart of the action and is no stranger to the referee’s notebook. McGinn has been booked 12 times in 37 appearances for Aston Villa this season.
Che Adams will score anytime
Adams ended the Premier League season with two goals in his last three appearances for Southampton and has made a strong start to his international career with two goals in four games.
The triple calls at 14-1 with bet365.
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FIRST PUBLISHED 4:31 PM, JUNE 13, 2021