Euro 2020 quarter-final: Czech Republic vs. Denmark preview, team news and predictions
Danish boss admits he would rather be facing the Dutch than the Czechs
In this Euro 2020 quarter-final you can expect a tough battle between two very similar teams. That’s the view of Czech Republic assistant coach Jiří Chytrý and Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand.
When asked about the Czech’s opponents in Baku on Saturday, Chytrý said: “I dare say that diamond will cut diamond. Two teams that base their football on teamwork and intense bursts of pace. Both try to counter opponents’ higher individual skills using these assets. We have similar weapons. It will be a very tough match. I think that this is what the Danish coach is saying, too. We have similar views.”
The Czech Republic qualified for the quarter-finals after beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the last-16. For Denmark boss Hjulmand he admits he would have preferred facing the Dutch in the last eight than the Czechs.
“I would rather have played the Netherlands,” Hjulmand said. “Now we’re facing a team for the first time [in the tournament] that I think can match our own intensity.
“We have worn our opponents down gradually and have played with a high intensity in our press and transitions. Now we can’t be surprised that we face a team that has the same work ethic and the same intensity in their pressing.”
Temperatures on Saturday will be around 30C for the match in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku - and Hjulmand believes that the heat will be an issue. “It’ll be 30C, and you definitely feel that,” he said. “How hard can you play? And how do you play? It’s all a factor, but we are prepared for it.”
The winners of this tie will play Ukraine or England in the semi-final at Wembley on Wednesday 7 July.
Kick-off time and TV details
The quarter-final clash between the Czech Republic and Denmark takes place on Saturday 3 July at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan. Kick-off is at 5pm (BST) and the match is live on ITV and ITV Hub.
Czech Republic team news
Jan Boril returns from suspension and there could be a “great dilemma” about the left-back slot between him and Pavel Kadeřábek, says Uefa.com reporter Ondřej Zlámal. “The old adage goes: do not change a winning line-up. That might be useful again.”
Captain Vladimir Darida returns from injury while Lukas Provod remains on the sidelines, SportsKeeda reports.
Forward Michael Krmenčík told Euro2020.com: “There’s a very positive mood in the Czech training camp. The biggest game of our career is ahead of us, everybody is really looking forward to it a lot.”
Czech Republic possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Vaclík; Coufal, Čelůstka, Kalas, Kadeřábek; Holeš, Souček; Masopust, Barák, Ševčík; Schick
Denmark team news
Captain Simon Kjaer is expected to be fit after suffering a thigh injury in the 4-0 win over Wales. Daniel Wass and Yussuf Poulsen both missed the round of 16 match and could also be in contention.
“I think it would take a lot to hold him [Kjaer] back and keep him out of the match on Saturday,” Hjulmand said. “Yussuf Poulsen had something with his thigh. It’s not a strain that keeps him out for weeks. We assume he’s getting ready. And Wass is recovering.”
Denmark possible starting XI (3-4-2-1): Schmeichel; Christensen, Kjaer, Vestergaard; Wass, Højbjerg, Delaney, Mæhle; Braithwaite, Dolberg, Damsgaard
Pundit predictions: who will win?
Alex Young, London Evening Standard: “Two entertaining teams punching, arguably, above their weight but both worthy semi-finalists should they get there. This could, though, prove a cagey affair with few chances, meaning the onus will lie on the likes of Patrick Schick, Yussef Poulsen and Kasper Dolberg. Czech Republic are a far sterner test for Denmark than both Russia and Wales. The Danes will have a tough time breaking them down. I'm backing the Czechs to edge this in normal time. Czech Republic 2-1 Denmark.”
Matt Law, SportsMole: “Denmark sneaked their way through the group stages of the competition, but they were seriously impressive against Wales in the round of 16. Czech Republic deserve huge credit for their display against the Netherlands, but we believe that the Danes will emerge victorious by the narrowest of margins to reach the final four. We say: Czech Republic 1-2 Denmark.”
Sachin Bhat, SportsKeeda: “Both sides have punched well above their weight and will be worthy semi-finalists. However, the Czechs have been a tough side to break down, and this defensive resolve could help them see out Denmark. Prediction: Czech Republic 2-1 Denmark.”
Joe Short, Radio Times: “The Danes have romped past both Russia and Wales over the last fortnight but Czech Republic have proven a much sturdier opposition to break down. Just ask Scotland, England and Croatia, never mind the Dutch! Czech Republic thrive in their midfield solidity that is driven by [Tomáš] Soucek. It will be down to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to nullify the West Ham man and give the likes of Mikkel Damsgaard and Martin Braithwaite freedom to play forward. Defensively Denmark look solid and they’re unlikely to take risks here. It could therefore be a cagey game unless there is an early goal. Should that happen we could see end-to-end action. Our prediction: Czech Republic 1-3 Denmark.”
Sreehari Menon, RepublicWorld.com: “Both Czech Republic and Denmark have done well to make it to the quarters and will look to continue their dream runs further. Denmark will look to emulate their 1992 squad and have been emotionally charged to do so, especially after Christian Eriksen's collapse in their opener. The Czech Republic meanwhile have surprised one and all, and knocked out the Netherlands in the round of 16, and will be favourites to qualify for the semi-finals.”