Denmark make the long trip east on Saturday evening for a quarter-final tie with the Czech Republic in Baku’s Olympic Stadium, where the temperature looks set to be in the high 20s and there’s a semi-final berth on the line.
It’s been a bittersweet journey for the Danes, who watched their star player almost lose his life on the field against Finland in their tournament opener before rallying against Russia to qualify from Group B with just three points.
They didn’t rest on their laurels though and dismantled Wales in the Round of 16, led by an unbelievable performance from wing-back Joakim Maehle and a brace from striker Kasper Dolberg – who was only in the starting xi following a late injury to RB Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen.
Bet on England v Ukraine : use code CTALK100 for up to £100 bet credits
What was most impressive about their performance though, was the mid-game changes made by manager Kasper Hjulmand. Upon noticing how much space Ramsey had behind his two midfielders in their initial 3-5-2, he opted to nudge Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen into a deep midfield role and switched to a 4-3-3.
The move immediately nullified Wales’ threat, and was the platform by which they were able to qualify for a first European Championship quarter-finals since 2004 – where they were knocked out by this evening’s opponents.
Czech Republic won that game 3-0 with goals from Milan Baros (2) and Jan Koller, and this side will be looking to channel the spirit of that side which peaked at 2nd in the FIFA World Rankings a year later.
It’s been an interesting journey for Jaroslav Šilhavý’s side, who stunned the world in knocking out Group C winners Netherlands in the Last 16. It was a masterclass in working as a unit against the plethora of attacking talent that the Oranje boasts, before Matthias de Ligt’s brainless red card turned the game on it’s head.
The Czech’s were able to exploit the gap left by the Juventus centre-back, targeting the left-hand side of their undermanned defence to secure their spot in the Quarter-Finals.
That lack of options saw Patrick van Aanholt caught on the ball at his own corner flag, with the free-kick he conceded leading to Tomas Holes’ opener.
It left Frank De Boer looking pretty silly for not making changes sooner; and Patrick Schick had added his fourth goal of the tournament before the man, once described by Jose Mourinho as ‘the worst manager in Premier League history’, had thought to bring another centre-back on.
There are no fresh injury concerns for Czechia either, with left-back Jan Boril returning from suspension and team captain Vladimir Darida available for selection after both missed the last round.
For Denmark Yussuf Poulsen should be back involved, though Dolberg’s brace may keep him out of the side. Daniel Wass is over the illness that kept him out of the Wales game, and could return at right-wing-back.
Suspension Watch: Mikkel Damsgaard, Thomas Delaney, Mathias Jensen, and Daniel Wass are a card away from missing a potential semi-final for Denmark; whilst Czech Republic’s Vladimir Coufal, Adam Hlozek, and Lukas Masopust all risk suspension.
Denmark v Czech Rep: The Man in the Middle
Taking control of this one is Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers, who has already overseen two games at the Championships so far. He showed four cards in each match, including Denmark’s 2-1 defeat to Belgium on Matchday Two – whilst also awarding a penalty to Spain in their 5-0 demolition of Slovakia.
He’s been rather conservtative outside of those matches though. In 20 Eredivisie games last season, he showed just 41 cards at a rate of 2.05 per game – an average that only increased slightly in non-Dutch games to 3.08.
Denmark v Czech Rep: The Bets
I was a little shocked to see that Denmark are above Evens to win this game, given their underlying stats have been some of the best in the competition.
They rank second on ‘Expected Goals For’ AND ‘Expected Goals Against’ among quarter-final sides – creating chances totalling 7.10xG and conceding opportunities worth just 2.50xG.
The Czechs, on the other hand, rank at the opposite end of the spectrum on both metrics – having actually conceded (4.70) more goal-scoring opportunities than they’ve created (3.50). As you can probably tell, I’ll be taking Denmark to Win at 11/9 with SBK.
Elsewhere, I like the plus-money price on Joakim Mahele to have Over 0.5 Shots On Target.
He’s evens with SkyBet to hit the target for the 7th time in his last four games for the Danes – a selection that is as short as ⅖ elsewhere.
The marauding wing-back has been the latest revelation from Atalanta’s apparent production line of incredible talent at the position, and he’s been integral for his national side so far at the tournament.
In each of his last three matches he’s managed two shots on target, so odds of 5/1 for him to do the same again certainly appeal.
In terms of a BetBuilder for this one, I’m sticking with the De rød-hvide and backing Denmark to Qualify, Denmark 5+ Corners, Denmark 12+ Free-Kicks and Czech Republic Over 0 Cards at 11/4 with bet365.
I went into great depth on the Czech’s foul troubles in international competition before the Scotland game, and how they’ve averaged 16.2 fouls per game since the 2018 World Cup. They’ve been true to form at this tournament too, committing 15 and 16 against Netherlands and Croatia respectively.
They’ve also earned five cards from their four games at the tournament, and averaged 2.0 per game in qualifying.
As far as corners are concerned; the Danish contingent have accumulated 6.75 corners per game, whilst their opponents have allowed six or more in three of their four games – only keeping a Croatia side that averaged 2.8 per game below that threshold.
Denmark v Czech Rep: Selections
Denmark to Win at 11/9 with SBK
Joakim Maehle 1+ Shot On Target at evs with Paddypower
Joakim Maehle 2+ Shots On Target at 5/1 with Paddypower
Denmark to Qualify, Denmark 5+ Corners, Denmark 12+ Free-Kicks and Czech Republic Over 0 Cards at 11/4 with bet365.
Sheff Utd v Nottingham Forest Live Stream : 5 Ways to watch Championship playoff
Its the second Championship playoff game today as Sheffield Utd take on Nottingham Forest live from Brammall Lane in Yorkshire....
What TV Channel is Luton v Huddersfield Live Stream on? Watch Championship playoffs
All eyes will be on Kenilworth Road tonight as the Championship playoffs kick off tonight as Luton Town take on...
Erling Haaland Odds : Top Goalscorer and Golden Boot (Latest Prices)
Manchester City have announced that Norwegian striker Erling Haaland will join them on July 1st, after reaching an agreement over...
Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland Live Stream and TV Channel Guide
The second leg play-off semi-final between Sheffield Wednesday and Sunderland will conclude tonight at Hillsborough Stadium, with Sunderland taking a...
bet365 Free £5 Bet on Real Madrid vs Man City (New Customers)
Real Madrid are favourites to beat Man City in their Champions League last 16 clash on Wednesday after a monumental...
QPR v Sheffield Utd Live Stream : Watch from Loftus Road
The Mark Warburton era is over at QPR as Rangers failed to live up to their early season form and...
Bet365 Football (Ultimate Guide to In Play)
Bet365 need no introduction in the betting scene and the same can be said for their football section. The reception...
Birmingham vs West Brom Live Stream on TV – What channel is the game on?
The good news is that there are a number of options to watch a Birmingham West Brom live stream. Its...
Nottingham Forest v Liverpool on TV – What Channel is the FA Cup tie on?
Nottingham Forest have been on fire lately; they are coming off three wins in a row, and they have no...
Southampton v Manchester City on TV – Ways to watch FA Cup match
Southampton have lost three games in a row; this should be cause for concern considering they had no losses in...
Watch Crystal Palace v Everton live streaming FA Cup tie
Crystal Palace continued their good form with a goalless draw against league leaders Manchester City; they are unbeaten in their...
How to watch Middlesbrough v Chelsea FA Cup fixture on TV
Middlesbrough knocked out Premier League giants Manchester United and Tottenham en route to the FA Cup quarter-final; they’ll be going...
How to watch Everton v Boreham Wood Live FA Cup TV Channel
Things have not gone too well for Everton lately; they are coming off back-to-back losses against Manchester City and Southampton,...
Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur : Live Broadcast, TV Channel Instructions
The FA Cup returns tonight as Middlesbrough face Tottenham Hotspur in front of the TV cameras at The Riverside Stadium...
Middlesbrough v West Brom : How to watch a live stream from Riverside Stadium
West Brom have had a disastrous run of form in recent weeks which has led them to sack their manager...