Netherlands vs Czech Republic
The Netherlands and the Czech Republic are set to meet at the Ferenc Puskas Arena in Budapest for a place in the quarterfinals.
This Euro 2020 fixture pits together two sides with genuine aspirations to go deep into the competition after their group exploits have left them in the side of the draw which has avoided France, Italy, and Belgium.
The winner of this tie could ultimately meet England or Germany in the semifinal, but when you get to the last four then anything can happen.
Here at SBOTOP, we’re backing the Netherlands to win this tie at odds of 1.33 while the Czech Republic is at 3.22 to make the last eight.
The Oranje come into the clash with high expectations. But in the Czech Republic, they will meet a dangerous opponent.
It’s good to have the Netherlands back
Having failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, Holland fans have seen their team make it through a period of transition and emerge as an attractive side which can go toe-to-toe with the best teams in Europe.
In this competition, Frank de Boer’s Netherlands have rather gone under the radar amidst all the noise surrounding France, Italy, England, and Belgium.
But the Oranje won Group C in impressive style and they sit proudly alongside the Azzurri and the Red Devils as one of only three nations to emerge from the group stage with a 100-per cent record, and they are now down to odds of 9.00 to win the tournament.
In their opening fixture, the Oranje were pushed all the way by Ukraine and came out on top of a five-goal thriller as Gini Wijnaldum and Wout Weghorst gave them a two-goal lead only for Ukraine to draw level before wing-back Denzil Dumfries scored a dramatic late winner.
Their Euro 2020 results over Austria (2-0) and North Macedonia (3-0) were more comfortable as the Netherlands rose to the top of Group C.
Midfield ace Wijnaldum has three goals and is showing just what a great deal Paris Saint-Germain have completed in bringing the 30-year-old to France from Liverpool. The Ligue 1 giants signed him from under the nose of Barcelona and have given him a three-year deal.
His form at the championships has also left Liverpool fans wondering why their club has let him go before a new Premier League season in which the Reds will be severely tested in their pursuit of Manchester City.
Wijnaldum scored twice in Netherlands’ win over North Macedonia while Lyon striker Memphis Depay was on target too for his second of the competition.
The Oranje could go all the way but they might just fall short if other teams can breach their defence as Ukraine did.
The injury to Virgil van Dijk has allowed Nathan Ake to step in at centre-back alongside Matthijs de Ligt, but the authority of Van Dijk is a big miss.
Schick is Czech’s trump card
Czech head coach Jaroslav Silhavy guided his team through to the knockout phase fairly comfortably after picking up four points from their opening two games.
And it is Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick who has taken the plaudits, scoring three goals to make it 14 in his 29 international appearances.
He scored a sensational long-range effort in Czech Republic’s 2-0 win over Scotland and then bagged the Czech’s goal in a crucial 1-1 draw with Croatia.
Behind Schick, the West Ham duo of Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal bring Premier League quality to the side – with both possessing pace, strength, and making vital contributions at both ends of the pitch.
The Czechs went into their clash with England vying for top spot in Group D and after the Three Lions dominated the first half, the Czechs had the better of the second and could easily have come away with a point.
Both teams have previously starred in the Euros. Netherlands won the European Championships in 1988 while the Czech Republic were unlucky runners-up in 1996, losing in the final to a Germany silver goal.
The Czechs have had the better of the head-to-heads since 1994, winning five to Holland’s three victories and there have been two draws.
Their last meeting in a European Championship qualification match in 2015 ended in a 3-2 win for the Czech Republic which ended a miserable campaign for the Dutch.
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