Scotland vs Czech Republic
Scotland are in decent shape to make it up to League A of the UEFA Nations League. They are undefeated through three games and currently lead Group B2 by one point over the Czech Republic, whom they host at Hampden Park.
Avoiding defeat at home against their main challengers would be a major boost to their UEFA Nations League 2020 odds of gaining promotion. However, the Scots will be missing a number of key players for their crucial clash against the Czechs, who will be missing their coach due to COVID-19.
Read on below for our comprehensive preview of this top of the table Group B2 battle.
Shorthanded Scotland missing key players
Scotland’s squad is being pushed to its limit ahead of their match against the Czech Republic. The Scots were already without the trio of Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, and Ryan Christie for this international break after Armstrong tested positive for COVID-19.
They also lost Leeds United centre-back Liam Cooper, who suffered a muscle injury in their European Championship qualifying play-off against Israel, which they eventually won on penalties.
But despite those absences, they were still able to edge out Slovakia 1-0 at home in the Nations League thanks to a Lyndon Dykes goal. Dykes has started all three games in Scotland’s Nations League campaign and is the team’s leading scorer with two goals.
However, Scotland will now have to do without captain Andy Robertson as well. The Liverpool left-back will be suspended against the Czech Republic for an accumulation of yellow cards.
With both Robertson and Tierney unavailable, 22-year-old Greg Taylor — who has three international caps — will have to fill in at left wing-back for the Scots.
John McGinn of high-flying Aston Villa is now arguably the best player left in the Scotland squad. But the Villa midfielder has already started both games during this international break and it remains to be seen whether he’s capable of producing UEFA Nations League 2020 highlights if he does play his third game in less than a week.
Czech Republic without COVID-hit coach
COVID-19 continues to hit the Czech Republic hard. They sent home three players prior to their recent friendly against Cyprus and three more players tested positive prior to their Nations League match against Israel.
And now, the Czechs will be without head coach Jaroslav Silhavy and another unnamed player for the second Scotland clash after they tested positive for COVID-19. Assistant Jiri Chytry will lead the squad in Glasgow.
But while losing their coach is a blow, the Czechs still have a squad that’s capable of causing the Scots some problems.
The Czechs famously had to field an entirely new and understrength squad in their first meeting against Scotland after numerous positive tests ahead of the match. But despite that major setback, they still pushed the Scots hard in a 2-1 defeat.
They have since bounced back from that defeat with back-to-back away wins during this international break: 1-2 against Cyprus in a friendly and 1-2 against Israel in the Nations League.
With star Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick out of the squad due to injury, Burnley’s Matej Vydra has led the line well. He scored what turned out to be the winning goal against Israel.
Meanwhile, the West Ham duo of Thomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal have been standout performers in the Hammers’ promising start to the Premier League season.
The Czech Republic hold a slight edge in terms of historical head-to-heads against Scotland. The Czechs have won four of their seven matches to the Scots’ three, with one draw.
However, the Scots have won each of their last two meetings: a friendly in 2016 and their first Nations League encounter, which had some extenuating circumstances due to COVID-19.
The Czech Republic took an early lead through Jakub Pesek, but the Scots came back to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie.
|Scotland vs Czech Republic||1X2 Draw @ 3.10|
|October 15, 02:45 (GMT+8)|
Despite being at home, SBOTOP odds actually have Scotland as 3.20 underdogs against the Czechs, who are 2.24 favourites to win at Hampden Park. Meanwhile, a draw is priced at 3.10.
Due to all of Scotland’s key absentees, it’s hard to argue too much with those odds. Robertson’s absence, in particular, robs them of their key creative force in attack.
But the Scots remain a decent defensive side, and they should be able to contain a Czech attack with limited attacking weapons themselves.
Scotland will be more than satisfied with a point against the Czechs, so expect them to have a more conservative approach that can help get them that draw.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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