Thomas Pyndt’s Czech Republic v Denmark preview: Expect a tight game between two similar teams
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Denmark throughout Euro 2020
National team coach Kasper Hjulmand had to make a couple of unexpected changes before the game against Wales last Saturday in Amsterdam, but it didn’t make any difference.
Even though the goalscorer against Belgium and Russia, Yussuf Poulsen, was out with a small thigh-problem and right wing-back Daniel Wass was feeling a bit under the weather, the new players Kasper Dolberg and Jens Stryger Larsen fitted right into the team. And Dolberg even scored the first two goals, which was a much-needed boost for the forward.
Like the game against Russia, the Danish team showed a lot of stamina and also finished the game against Wales with two late goals. It ended with an impressive scoreline of 4-0 and gave further proof of Hjulmand’s tactical know-how. Wales dominated the first 15 minutes but then Hjulmand quickly switched from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 and that changed the flow of the game.
And now for the quarter-finals. A strong and well-drilled Denmark team will arrive in Baku with a lot of confidence, both in the defence and in their goalscoring abilities. The week between the game against Wales and the Czech Republic gave the possibility of a couple of days off and time for the small niggles and injuries to heal, so both Daniel Wass and Yussuf Poulsen are expected to return to the team even though Poulsen might only be able to play 60 minutes. But then Kasper Dolberg can be substituted in for a final push if needed.
The feeling here is that Denmark are slight favourites to win, but there is also a lot of respect given to this Czech team. Kasper Hjulmand actually said that he would have preferred to play the Netherlands, because the Czech team has many of the same qualities as the Danish team, with the strong collective spirit and the high intensity in both the running and the pressing.
For the first time in these Euros, Denmark will play without a strong support in the stadium and it will also be the hottest game for the team so far. Will it matter? Saturday evening will show. To me it looks like a low-scoring game – with Denmark to win.