MX23RW : Saturday, July 24 18:35:08| >> :600:436373:436373:
Mar 27, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Sinobo stadium
Czech RepublicCzech Republic
1-1
BelgiumBelgium
Provod (50')
Soucek (43')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Lukaku (60')
Castagne (25'), Vertonghen (72')

Preview: Czech Republic vs. Belgium - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Czech Republic and Belgium, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both Czech Republic and Belgium will be looking to make it back-to-back wins at the start of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaigns when they lock horns in Prague on Saturday night.

Czech Republic opened their Group E challenge with a 6-2 victory away to Estonia on Thursday, while Belgium recorded a 3-1 win over Wales on the same night.


Match preview

Czech Republic manager Jaroslav Silhavy pictured on November 11, 2020© Reuters

Czech Republic proved to be far too strong for Estonia in their Group E opener on Thursday, with West Ham United's Tomas Soucek scoring three times in a 6-2 victory for the visitors.

Jaroslav Silhavy's side have now won their last three matches in all competitions and will view this month's double-header against Belgium and Wales as vital to their chances of qualification for the World Cup.

Czech Republic will be present at this summer's European Championships, having finished second behind England in their qualification group, and they actually beat the Three Lions at home in October 2019.

Belgium are the overwhelming favourites to top this section, but a positive result on Saturday would leave Silhavy's team in a confident mood ahead of a trip to Wales on March 30.

The Czechs have not actually qualified for a World Cup since 2006, when they went out in the group stages, winning just one of their three matches against Italy, Ghana and the United States.

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring against Wales on March 24, 2021© Reuters

Belgium, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a 3-1 win over Wales on Wednesday evening; Harry Wilson sent the visitors ahead in the 10th minute, but Kevin De Bruyne levelled in the 22nd minute before Thorgan Hazard and Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net.

Roberto Martinez's side have now won each of their last five matches in all competitions, and it would be a huge surprise if they did not finish at the top of this particular section.

Belgium reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 and comfortably qualified for this summer's tournament, winning all 10 of their matches to finish top of Group I ahead of Russia.

The Red Devils did not qualify for either the 2006 or 2010 World Cup, but they made the quarter-finals of the 2014 competition before claiming third in 2018.

Sitting first in the FIFA rankings, Belgium are now fancied among the favourites for every competition that they enter, and Martinez will be determined to lead his side to another three points in this match.

Czech Republic World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W

Czech Republic form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Belgium World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W

Belgium form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W


Team News

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring against Wales on March 24, 2021© Reuters

Czech Republic did not pick up any injury problems during their win over Estonia, meaning that the same squad will be available to head coach Silhavy for this match.

It would not be a surprise to see the same XI sent onto the field, with Patrik Schick keeping his spot at the tip of the attack, having scored his 10th international goal on Thursday night.

Burnley's Matej Vydra and Legia Warsaw's Tomas Pekhart will again be pushing for starts, but Silhavy is unlikely to alter the side that scored six times in an impressive performance.

As for Belgium, Martinez could make a change to his back three, with Jason Denayer potentially coming in for Thomas Vermaelen, with that alteration taking place at the interval against Wales.

Timothy Castagne and Leandro Trossard also both appeared off the bench on Thursday, but Martinez is likely to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack for this match.

As a result, De Bruyne, Lukaku and Dries Mertens should again start as the front three, with Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier featuring in the wing-back positions.

Belgium's most high-profile absentee is Eden Hazard, with the 30-year-old on the sidelines through injury.

Czech Republic possible starting lineup:
Pavlenka; Kaderabek, Kudela, Celustka, Boril; Provod, Darida, Soucek, Jankto; Barak; Schick

Belgium possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Dendoncker, T. Hazard; De Bruyne, Lukaku, Mertens


SM words green background

We say: Czech Republic 1-2 Belgium

Czech Republic are a team to be taken extremely seriously at this level of football, and they are more than capable of beating Belgium on Saturday to keep hold of first spot in Group E. Martinez's side have so much quality, though, and we are finding it difficult to back against them in Prague.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


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