Croatia vs Czech Republic: Croats fighting for Euro 2020 survival

Following their loss to England, Croatia find themselves in a precarious position. A win over Czech Republic will put their campaign back on track.

When: Friday, June 18, 17:00 BST

How to watch: BBC One

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best Bets

Draw at 11/5

Both teams to score at EVS

Patrik Schick to score anytime at 23/10

One piece of good news for the Croats is that they've never lost to the Czech Republic. Previous three meetings have produced one draw and two Croatian victories.

But what are the chances of that changing this Friday afternoon? Czech Republic looked clinical against Scotland in their Euro 2020 opener but then again, Croatia will pose an entirely different challenge.

Croatia's Luka Modric in action against England
Croatia's Luka Modric in action against England

One thing to expect - goals galore. This fixture has produced 12 of them, even though there's only been 270 minutes of soccer played between the two nations.

What's more, with Croatia's chances of progression hanging by a thread, they will have to go on the front foot in search of goals.

Then again, with their final group game coming against Scotland, perhaps this isn't the time to go into panic mode just yet.

Last Three Matches

Czech Republic 2-2 Croatia (Euro 2016 - June 17, 2016)

Interestingly enough, the last encounter between the two nations also came in the European Championships.

Croatia got off to an absolute flyer as Ivan Perisic bagged the opener in the first-half.

After the break, Ivan Rakitic added a second to put his side on a one-way road to victory.

The road, however, seemed to run out of concrete as things began to unravel in the final 14 minutes. First, Milan Skoda gave the Czech's hope with a goal. Then, it was Tomas Necid who produced a dramatic last-minute equaliser.

Croatia 4-2 Czech Republic (Friendly - February 9, 2011)

International friendlies rarely deliver. But this one certainly bucked the trend.

Croatia took a 2-0 lead within the first 13 minutes as goals from Eduardo and Nikola Kalinic got the side off to a strong start.

However, Czech Republic came back strong towards the end of the opening half and managed to get on level terms with goals from Tomas Sivok and Tomas Rosicky.

There was more drama to come in the second-half as Croatia regained their lead and sealed the victory courtesy of another Kalinic effort and one from Ivo Ilicevic too.

Croatia 1-1 (4-1p) Czech Republic (Hassan II Trophy - December 12, 1996)

Back in 1996, the two nations clashed in the Hassan II Trophy final in Casablanca.

Czech Republic got off to a sensational start as Radek Drulak scored the opener in the very first minute of the game.

Croatia got back on level terms with an effort from Nenad Pralija. Neither team was able to find the winning goal and so the showpiece was decided via a penalty shoot-out. The Croats reigned supreme having won 4-1 from the spot kicks.

Last three head-to-heads

Croatia: 2

Draw: 1

Czech Republic wins: 0

Croatia goals: 7

Czech Republic goals: 5

Don't dismiss Croatia yet

Croatia's ageing squad came undone against England in their Euro 2020 opener. The likes of Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic are all important players for the national team but they're also in their early/mid 30s .

Croatia manager, Zlatko Dalic
Croatia manager, Zlatko Dalic

What's more, Croatia are entering this tournament on the back of some poor results. The team have only managed two wins from their last ten games - both coming against Malta and Cyprus.

Nevertheless, this is a side that finished runners-up in the World Cup just three years ago. Dismissing them at this stage would be a mistake but the pressure is unquestionably growing.

Czech mate

A 2-0 victory over Scotland at Hampden Park is a pretty admirable effort. The Czech's were slight favourites ahead of kick off but few expected them to romp to a 2-0 win.

Patrik Schick's brace - and especially his second goal - will go down in Euros history. Curling the ball into the back of the net from almost 50 metres is not something that happens every day.

David Marshall falls into the net after conceding to Patrik Schick's halfway line effort
David Marshall falls into the net after conceding to Patrik Schick's halfway line effort

The victory puts the national side in an incredibly strong position. A win over Croatia would seal their place in the knockout stages and it could see them top of the group ahead of the clash with England.

Obviously, picking up a win over Croatia is a lot easier said than done. However, the Czech's are certainly well equipped to give the Croats a run for their money.

Goalscorer bets

Patrik Schick is in the elite group of eight players who have scored two goals so far in this tournament. But unlike most of them, he has only played one game.

Czech Republic's Patrick Schick
Czech Republic's Patrick Schick

The Czech forward has got a taste for scoring in this tournament and he'll want more of it here against Croatia.

At 23/10, he's well priced to score anytime.

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