Czech Republic Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Pick

Czech Republic Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Pick article feature image
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BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured: Patrik Schick.

After making it to the quarterfinals of the previous Euros, the Czech Republic look poised to give a lot teams in Group F headaches.

The Czech Republic finished second in their qualifying group behind Albania, but the underlying numbers were actually really impressive and they a style of play that is going to give a lot of teams problems if they aren't ready for it. They are under a new manager in Ivan Hasek who took over in January, but based off the few friendlies under him, nothing significant is going to change.

Tactical Analysis

There are two main methods that the Czech Republic create most of their chances with – transition breaks off of high turnovers and crosses.

When the Czech Republic do build out of the back, they do so in a 3-2-5 shape with the two midfielders dropping deep, but there is a lot of space in between those to midfielders and the last line of five. That is by design because the Czech Republic like to utilize a lot of long balls and will often try to create passing triangles out wide to create a chance via a cross.

Of the teams in the Euro field, the Czech Republic had the most accurate crosses per 90 minutes of anyone. They did all of it without their best player, Patrik Schick, who battled a groin injury for the entire year of 2023 and didn’t play a single minute during qualifying. The Bayer Leverkusen striker scored five goals at the previous Euros and is a big time aerial threat for a side that was fourth in qualifying in aerial dual win rate. Even in his limited playing time for Leverkusen he still had a 0.53 npxG per 90 minute scoring rate, so he will be a massive boost to this Czech side that still averaged 1.91 xG per 90 minutes throughout qualifying.

Another area the Czech Republic are extremely dangerous is on set pieces. Of the 12 goals they scored during qualifying, five of them came off of set pieces because of how good they are winning the ball in the air.

The Czechs are about as aggressive as it comes when they are out of possession. They will typically press their opponent high in a man to man fashion, trying to force high turnovers to create easy transition opportunities.

The led the Euro field in high recoveries with 20.6 per 90 minutes and had a PPDA of 8.7. However, they were doing that against teams like Poland, Albania, Moldova and the Faroe Islands, who mainly play direct rather than trying to build out of back. One of the downsides of pressing in a man to man fashion like this is once one man gets beat, space starts to open up and good build up teams will rip them apart. They also like to utilize the press to force teams into long passes because they are elite at winning aerial duals and defending long passes.

Of the six goals they conceded in qualifying, four of them were in transition after the opponent beat the first line of pressure.

Once teams enter their final third though they will settle into a 5-3-2 defensive shape to avoid getting overloaded on the last line of defense. When they are in settled possession they do make it difficult for teams to play through the middle, but they were 17th in cross completion rate allowed, so teams have been able to exploit them in wide areas, mainly through passing triangles.

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data via WyScout

Pick

Being as good as the Czech Republic were out of possession during qualifying definitely makes them a live underdog against both Portugal and Turkey in this group.

Their style of play offensively of taking advantage of transition opportunities, effectively crossing the ball into the box and being good on set pieces is the blueprint for pulling off upsets as an underdog.

Having Schick back in the lineup makes an absolute world of a difference for the Czechs, especially in those three areas I mentioned above.

They are significant favorites over Georgia in their second match, which gives them a better shot at getting three points than most third place teams do, but it’s also not out of the realm of possibility that they finish second in this group. So, I like the value on the Czech Republic to advance at -137.

Pick: Czech Republic to Advance (-137 via bet365)

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