Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group D match between Scotland and Czech Republic, at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday, June 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, Pool)
- Croatia will be looking to get back in the win column after a tournament-opening loss to England
- Czech Republic can book its spot in the knockout rounds with a second successive win at Euro 2020
- Read on for betting odds, full preview and a best bet for this crucial Group D fixture for both teams
Having started their campaigns with wildly divergent results, both Croatia and the Czech Republic enter their fourth-ever meeting on Friday, June 18, in very different situations.
Following a 1-0 loss to England, World Cup runner-up Croatia needs to get its first points from the tournament here, while the Czechs, still riding the high of a 2-0 win over Scotland, can book their place in the last 16 with another victory.
Croatia vs Czech Republic Odds
|Croatia vs Czech Republic||CRO -1.5 (+340) | CZE +1.5 (-455)||CRO +114| CZE +260 |
|Ov 2.5 (+130) | Un 2.5 (-157)|
Odds as of June 17 at DraftKings
A Checkered Past
On paper, Croatia’s loss to England was something of an anomaly, being just its second loss over 90 minutes in its last 15 Euro matches, with a record of nine wins and four draws (including the 2016 game against Portugal, where Croatia was ultimately eliminated in extra time).
But when we look beyond matches at the European Championship, the team that lost in the World Cup final three years ago is in something of a tailspin, having lost eight games in its last 14 matches over the past nine months. However, of those eight, six have been to Portugal (twice), France (twice), and Belgium and England, so at least most of those defeats have been against top-tier opposition.
UEFA Euro 2020 Odds Tracker
Croatia Has Ability to Turn It Around
On the plus side, though, this Croatia squad certainly has the experience to turn things around, with a combined 131 appearances across the squad at both the World Cup and European Championship combined. In addition, 13 players were also part of the team that made it to the 2018 World Cup final.
🚨 #CRO has never lost its second group stage match at major tournaments!
’96 🆚🇩🇰 3:0
’98 🆚🇯🇵 1:0
’02 🆚🇮🇹 2:1
’04 🆚🇫🇷 2:2
’06 🆚🇯🇵 0:0
’08 🆚🇩🇪 2:1
’12 🆚🇮🇹 1:1
’14 🆚🇨🇲 4:0
’16 🆚🇨🇿 2:2
’18 🆚🇦🇷 3:0
’21 🆚🇨🇿 ❓#BeProud #EURO2020 #Vatreni🔥 pic.twitter.com/FkdrL1yJGL
— HNS (@HNS_CFF) June 17, 2021
Croatia has also never lost its second game at a major tournament, winning six and drawing four of their second games thus far.
Czechs Looking to Buck History
Patrik Schick was the man for the moment in the Czech Republic’s opener, scoring twice including a contender for goal of the tournament, but he will have to maintain his form if his country is to prosper.
The Czechs have only ever opened a European Championship finals with back-to-back victories once, and Croatia will give them a tough test. In three meetings, the Czechs have never beaten their opponents, losing once in a friendly, and drawing the other two. The second of those draws took place most memorably five years ago, when they fought back from two down against Croatia to force a draw.
Croatia vs Czech Republic Key Stats
|5-1-2 (1st in Group E)||Record in Euro Qualifying||5-3-0 (2nd in Group A)|
|LWWDL||Form in Last Five Matches||WDLLW|
Czechs Likely Unchanged
Following a dominant performance against Scotland – where the team ended a four-match winless run at the finals – Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy looks set to maintain continuity and stick with largely the same lineup. Schick’s two goals represented his seventh and eighth goals in his last nine starts for his country, so the Bayer Leverkusen man will be leading the attack once again.
49.7 – Patrik Schick’s second goal (49.7 yards) is the furthest distance from which a goal has been scored on record at the European Championships (since 1980). Ridiculous.#Euro2020 #CZE #SCOCZE pic.twitter.com/imssf0WAxj
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 14, 2021
However, if the team is looking for goals, it may well turn to highly rated Sparta Prague teenager Adam Hlozek, who came on for the last 18 minutes against Scotland.
And while Scotland didn’t offer a whole lot of attacking threat, the Czechs will want to carry their defensive form into this game, having registered a clean sheet for just the third time in 18 games.
Croatia Has Decisions to Make
Following its opening defeat, coach Zlatko Dalic may change things up for Croatia, with Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic possibly coming into to partner with Luka Modric in the center of midfield.
📊| Luka Modrić played 70 games from the restart of La Liga on the 14th of June 2020 to Croatia’s first game in the Euros on the 13th of June 2021. He played 70/78 games in this time. @marca #rmalive
70 games at 35 years old! 🤯 🙌 pic.twitter.com/R44ylLe16t
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) June 15, 2021
That should give Croatia some added options up front, with Bruno Petkovic, Nikola Vlasic and Josip Brekalo all in contention to start this crucial game.
Best bet: Draw (+240)
For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.