Spain vs Czech Republic – A closer look of what’s to come

Spain are looking to secure their third consecutive European Championship, a record no one has ever come close to breaking. Their tiki-taka playing style is always executed to perfection and if they maintain that high level of play, Vicente del Bosque’s side will have a very good chance of beating Germany to the race for their fourth European Championship. Czech Republic are a strong team and it will definitely be a match Spain won’t take lightly. They finished first place in their qualifying group, winning seven of their ten games and losing only two. Del Bosque will need his players to execute his plans perfectly to emerge victorious, as the Czechs are not going down without a fight.

Spain vs Czech Republic – A brief History

Spain and Czech Republic first faced each other back in the 1930’s and a long history of matches between them ensued. Spain won the first encounter one goal to nil, but lost the four matches that followed. There’s nothing to separate these teams on the historical papers, as from their 16 match history, both teams won seven games, drew two and lost another seven. Spain won four out of their last five games though, clearly demonstrating that the quality of Spanish football increased dramatically in the last 30 years.

Spain played a total of 36 matches in European Championship since its conception, and Fernando Torres holds the record for most goals scored in this continental event, with five goals.  David Villa was a goal short of sharing this record. On par with Torres is Czech Republic’s Milan Baroš.

Spain vs Czech Republic – What to Expect

Spain’s poor attempt to defend their World Championship crown created a period of uncertainty. During the Euro Football 2016 qualifying stages, the football they played has almost been too predictable. For a team looking to secure their third consecutive European Championship, Spain need to win matches convincingly to eliminate the shroud of doubt currently over Del Bosque’s side.

Xavi Hernández and Xabi Alonso were the backbone of the tiki-taka style, but now the Spanish manager no longer has them at his disposal. Spain look like they are playing like a team entrenched in the past and Del Bosque has to make a tactical decision. Does he keep using the style that worked so well in the past and find new players to fulfil the roles? Or stay away from the pass-and-go style, working the ball through the channels and fine tuning the possession game that has been in the blood of Spanish football for a long time? Unfortunately, there’s the same old issue: the attacking system. Del Bosque has never really built the foundation for a solid offensive structure, and they have often played their best without a pure striker or pure wingers. Álvaro Morata has emerged as a better solution than Aritz Aduriz or Diego Costa, who didn’t make it in the Spanish manager’s plans.

From the time he spent at Viktoria Plzen, the Czech Republic manager, Pavel Vrba, has brought serious organization to the national side. His preferred style is an attacking one and plays an adventurous 4-2-3-1 formation, with creativity in the middle and speed on the flanks. Vrba likes to transform wingers and attacking midfielders into full-backs to utilize their speed and attacking instinct. The Czechs' forte’ is their strength. The team are very able to apply intense pressure against weaker opponents and sitting back to defend against stronger teams. 

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