Czech Republic reverses the clock to create a new chapter in success at Euro 2020

Although they are no strangers to the Euros knockouts, few people expected this vintage to be so successful

Czech Republic reverses the clock to create a new chapter in success at Euro 2020

Rarely is football predictable enough to be able to predict how it will play over time, even decades. However, the victory of Czech Republic over Netherlands in Sunday's Euro 2020 round 16 clash ensures that such a template will continue.

They have had two options at European Championship finals. One, they could either lose in the first hurdle or impress enough to make it into the knockouts.

The first Euro 96 was the Czech side of Patrik Berger, Karel Poborsky, and Pavel Nedved. They reached the final and finished as runners-up. They reached the final at Euro 2000 with a single victory in the groups, much like Euro 2008. However, they were runners-up at Portugal 2004. They reached the last eight in 2012. Last time, it was the groups and one point earned.

They were due to run into the final stages according to their four-year-old-cycle of results. This was a shame, considering we all have been a year behind in watching these games.

Even so, they were unlikely to be one of the eight finalists at this summer’s competition. Despite having a few outstanding Premier League and Bundesliga players in their squad, and a successful Nations League campaign at the end of last season, Czech Republic was third in the group stage and unfancied against Dutch.

They arrived at the tournament with only one player who had doubled their international goals. This was one of the problems within the group.

They won, beating Netherlands 2-0. Patrik Schick is now the second highest scorer at Euro 2020. His four goals are behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

It will be noted that the goals were only scored after the Dutch had been reduced to 10 players. It is true, but it misses a large part of the point for this Czech side. In the 55th minute Matthijs De Ligt was given a red card. Both sides had attempted the same number of shots. The Czech Republic was the only team on target. They had matched the Dutch and removed the technical disadvantage of being less organised and more difficult to break down.

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