Scotland vs Czech Republic Cheat Sheet
The last of the home nations’ teams kickstarts their Euro 2021 campaign as Scotland play their first football at a major tournament in 23 years. They get underway against Czech Republic at Hampden Park with a 14:00 kick-off in the second match of Group D following England vs Croatia on Sunday.
There will be 12,000 members of the Tartan Army cheering on their side at the match on home soil, with both nations holding realistic hopes of qualifying through to the knockout stages should they start strongly here.
Midfielder John Fleck will not feature in this opener, having missed several days of training after a positive Covid test at Scotland’s pre-tournament camp. Meanwhile, Tomas Koubek joined the Czech squad on Tuesday following goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka’s withdrawal after suffering a back injury. Aside from that, both sides are at full strength.
The player with the highest shots on target per game average across both teams happens to be Celtic’s Ryan Christie. His 0.9 figure is .1 higher than that of fellow teammates and Scotland forwards Che Adams and Lyndon Dykes, as well as the Czech’s table topper in Patrik Schick. But with so much uncertainty surrounding the Scotland lineup, the best value could potentially be found in the Bayer Leverkusen forward.
Schick is averaging 2.1 shots per game in a solid season that consisted of 15 goals in 40 appearances for club and country. It’s also worth noting that the 25-year-old has scored in two of his last three starts for the Czech Republic, including their most recent win against Austria only a week ago.
As a lone forward for his nation, you can get some pretty good prices on him in the shots on target and even in the goalscorer markets. For 2+ SoT, Schick is priced up at 11/4 with PaddyPower. With the same bookmaker, he’s 13/5 to score anytime in this match. Interesting value comes from him to be the first goalscorer at 6/1, with his two goals recently coming in the first 20 minutes of matches.
On the Scotland side of things, Che Adams is similarly priced to his Czech counterpart. The pair are 1/2 for 1+ shot on target, with the Saints forward also 11/4 for 2+ and a slightly improved 11/4 to score at any time.
Adams has seen a much improved sophomore campaign in the Premier League, netting nine goals for club and twice for his nation while only making four appearances for them so far. The ex-Birmingham City man seems to have found his feet in the top flight, and could well be looked at as Scotland’s main man in the opposition penalty box. While it’s up in the air as to whether Steve Clarke will opt for a one or two man attack, you can bet Che Adams will feature no matter the formation.
On the cards front, there are two players who stand out well above the rest. They are Scotland’s John McGinn and Czech Republic’s Tomas Soucek. Readers will be very familiar with the duo, known for plying their trade in the English top division with Aston Villa and West Ham respectively.
The two midfielders have racked up a club high for cards this season, with McGinn notching an incredible 13 yellows, while Soucek was brandished four more than any of his club teammates with a total of seven cautions. As has already been highlighted, the pair are playing at a high level domestically and both within teams that have competed in the Premier League at strong levels in 2020/2021.
When we break down their individual stats in more detail, it’s evident to see the type of influence they’re having and more importantly, the type of challenges they’re making. There isn’t an awful lot between the number of tackles per game they’re making, with Soucek averaging the slightly better 2.0 average to McGinn’s 1.5.
In the fouls department, Soucek is also higher with 1.7 against the Villa man’s 1.3. Both operate in a similar fashion for their clubs and that will translate onto the international stage with a very close game, consisting of many strategic fouls to destroy any rhythm that the opposition may be looking to build.
Referee for the game is Daniel Siebert who has officiated almost half of his appearances this season in the Bundesliga. To further support the chances of either midfielders being booked, you only need to know that the German has averaged 3.38 yellows in those games, with his overall ypg average coming in at 3.77. The man with the whistle has shown a total of 117 yellows in 31 matches over the course of the season, with a good chance that he adds a few more to his tally this afternoon.