Czech Republic vs Russia:
Date: Wednesday, 1 June 2016;
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT,
Venue: Tivoli Stadion Tirol (Innsbruck).
Czech Republic take on Russia in an international friendly as both teams look to polish their tactics for the Euro 2016 final tournament in France.
Czech Republic kicked off their round of warm up matches with an easy 6-0 win over Malta, last Thursday. They have failed to win in any of their three previous friendlies and the win will give them much needed confidence. There is plenty of job left for head-coach Pavel Vrba as there is no room for error at the Euros in a group alongside Spain, Turkey and Croatia.
Russia will be playing their first warm up match and they had mixed fortunes since securing qualifying for Euro 2016. They started off with an impressive 1-0 win over Portugal in November 2015, but succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Croatia three days later. They bounced back with a 3-0 win against Lithuania in March, but brought back to ground by France who inflicted a 4-2 win inside another four days.
Czech Republic: Team News
Matej Vydra, Jan Kovarík and Ondrej Zahustel were dropped from the preliminary squad on 20th May reducing the size to 25. With the final list of 23-man squad set to be announced end of this month, this will be the friendly for a number of players to impress the coach and book their ticket to France.
Pavel Vrba has an experienced squad at his disposal with two Arsenal players Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky being the pick of the bunch.
Czech Republic: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Cech – Pudil, Suchy, Sivok, Selassie – Darida, Marecek – Sural, Kolar, Krejci – Necid.
Russia: Team News
Leonid Slutsky has already confirmed the 23 man squad for the final tournament on 21 May. Schalke defender Roman Neustadter stole all the news headlines, after sealing his Russian passport on May 18. The 28 year old born in Dnipro (Ukraine) had made three appearances for Germany junior sides, but was also eligible for Ukraine.
A lot of Russia’s hopes will rest on the shoulders of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg forward Aleksandr Kokorin, who has attracted interests from various top Premier League clubs since last summer.
Russia: Predicted Line-up (4-3-2-1)
Akinfeev – Smolnikov, Berezutski, Neustadter, Shishkin – Shirokov, Denisov, Golovin – Shatov, Kokorin – Dzyuba.
Czech Republic vs Russia: Head to Head Stats
The teams had met only on two previous occasions, both during the European Competitions, with Russia leading the stats with a win and a draw.
The first meeting was in the final match day of UEFA Euro 1996 Group C, where the teams played out a thrilling 3-3 draw. Czech rushed to a 2-0 lead inside 19 minutes, only to saw the Russian mount a comeback in the second half and went 3-2 up in the 85th minute. A Vladimir Smicer goal in the 88th minute sent the Czech fans into raptures at Anfield knocking Italy out to qualify for the quarter finals. Russia on the other hand, finished bottom of the group, after failing to win a single match.
At the UEFA Euro 2012 hosted in Poland and Ukraine, Russia demolished Czech Republic 4-1 in their opening match of Group A at Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw. However, Russia once again failed to qualify for the quarter-finals after failing to win their next two matches, while Czech Republic finished top of the group with wins from their next two games.
Czech Republic vs Russia: Prediction
Both teams are on similar status of form and are typically inconsistent. Time is running out for either side to find some form and attain much needed morale ahead of the tournament in France and this could be a decisive match, despite being a friendly.
We can expect both managers to go out with a full strength squad on Wednesday as neither of them want to be on the losing end. There is a high probability of a draw in this friendly, but we can expect goals at either end. Meetings between these sides have witnessed over 3.5 goals and I believe this will be the case on Wednesday.
Full Time Score: Czech Republic 2-2 Russia.
Recommended Bet: Both Teams to Score (Odds 2.00)
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals (Odds 2.37)
Risky Bet: Scored Draw (odds 4.50)
*All Odds from Ladbrokes at the time of composing this article.
Get a £50 Free Bet using Promo Code F50 by clicking here.