UEFA Euro 2012 betting preview – part 4 – Czech Republic
Euro 2012 betting is ongoing at a mighty pace. Howtobet.net is reviewing the participants of this championship, one by one. This time around it is the Czech Republic we take a closer look at. The Czechs have gone through a generational shift. Jan Koller, Pavel Nedved and Vladimir Smicer are names ringing more than one bell, but these influential game changing players are all out of this squad. Michael Bílek who is the head coach still managed to navigate this talented team through the qualification jungle via play-offs. In this article we take a closer look at what the Czechs have to offer.
UEFA Euro 2012 odds
The current available Euro 2012 betting odds on the Czechs are about 60/1 to win it, but odds as high as 99/1 can be found if you go to the exchanges and want to place small money. If you think they should fare well in Group A versus Poland, Russia and Greece betting odds of 4/1 can be had. The following walk-through of Czech qualities should highlight any value in the presented odds. Let’s try to conclude.
Czech National team history
In the Czechoslovakia era the UEFA Euro championship trophy was won in 1976. 4 years later in 1980 they captured third. They also had two finals from the FIFA World Championship (in 1934 and 1962) but none of them resulted in a win. After splitting up with the Slovaks at the end of 1992 they have managed one UEFA Euro runners up spot in 1996 and a third in 2004. From any perspective the Czech team has fared well and has always been considered a top drawer side.
Of the past Czech teams one of the more recent performers stand out as the best ever. Pavel Nedved was a fantastic footballer who kept on playing well into his thirties. He received the Golden Ball as Europes best football player in 2003. Josef Masopust also won the Golden Ball, although way back in 1962. He too deserves to be short listed as one of the top notch players. Antonin Panenka is a third top player for us. He was the guy «inventing» the middle of the goal penalty tap in. Sending keepers left and right, then placing the ball gently down the middle, while all the time playing superb attacking football is his legacy. Josef Biscan is one of the most prolific goal scorers ever (over 800 competitive goals and many more unaccounted for in various other matches). His sprinter-like speed and eye for goal made him one of the most talked about players of his time. He also played for three different national sides during his career, something we haven’t come across elsewhere. Austria, Czechoslovakia and Bohemia/Moravia all got action from the tall striker.
Czech team sheet for the UEFA Euro 2012 – defense
We start with the goalie. Peter Czech is top notch and perhaps still one of the three best in the business. Chelsea and the Czech Republic are very lucky to have him. More or less undisputed reserve keeper is Jaroslav Drobny who has had a pretty rough season with HSV in the German Bundesliga.
Michal Kadlec is often used in the center of the Czech defense. Depending on the tactical choices of coach Michal Bilek he might also operate on the left. He plays club football for Leverkusen and has obviously been matched at a high level in the Champions League. Roman Hubník, a regular for Hertha Berlin, is a solid, tall central defender, and should be included in the squad. Hertha has struggled this season, but Hubnik has been one of their more decent performers under Rehhagel so expect to see him on the pitch. Another player likely to feature is Tomáš Sivok. He is a regular for turkish powerhouse Besiktas. Usually you will find him in the centre of defense, but he has quite a lot of footballing skills so he could be found as a holding midfielder as well.
Jan Rajnoch, who plays for Sivasspor in Turkey, is a player we think has a fighting chance to make the squad as a cover for Kadlec, Hubnik and Sivok. Also, he can cover on the defensive side of things in midfield. He has at least made the squad for many important games at the qualification stages.
Theodor Gebre Selassie is the man most likely to occupy the right back spot. He currently plays for Slovan Librec in the Gambrinus Liga. He came onto the scene in 2011 and has managed to make the right side in defense his own. Should Selassie not feature, then František Rajtoral might be given a chance. This is another Gambrinus Liga player, as he plays his club football for Viktoria Plzen. This means he has been matched against sides like Barcelona and AC Milan in the group stages of the Champions League. Zdeněk Pospěch brings routine to the table, and given his 33 years of age this is most likely his last chance to shine on the international scene should he be given the nod. He plays as a regular for Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga. Normally he is taking either the right side of defense or the right attacking flank, but he can also provide services down the left need be.
Daniel Pudil is a left side player who can do both the fullback and the winger position. He is currently playing on loan for Cesena, who is struggling massively in the Serie A. The player is owned by Grenada, but has been out on loan.
David Limberský is also contending for a defensive left position. Viktoria Plzen is where he performs his daily football grind, a team that has established itself in recent years as one of the top performers in the Czech Gambrinus Liga.
Defensively, the Czech midfield is usually patrolled by Petr Jiráček or Tomáš Hübschman. Jiráček is currently on the fringes of the first team in Wolfsburg, but has good chances of becoming a regular if he can get his game stable at his best level. Hübschman plays in Ukraine for high flying Shaktar Donetsk and has champions league matching this season. Lately, Jiráček has gotten much game time by coach Bilek.
Czech aside, there aren’t any top drawer names, but Sivok, Kadlec and Hubnik are solid central defenders, make no mistake thinking otherwise. There are plenty of decent fullback options as well as solid defensive midfielders. If the heart of their defense has a good tournament, teams will find it very hard to get clear chances, and when your goalie is no other than Peter Czech, expect nothing else than perfection.
Czech midfield and attacking options
Jaroslav Plašil is an experienced midfielder who can pretty much play all across the pitch. His versatility and skill makes him a good footballer no doubt. He currently plays for French outfit Bordeaux and is a pretty much guaranteed a lot of game time in the Euro 2012 should he stay fit. Another similar player that hasn’t been given much game time is Marek Matějovský who you might remember from Reading. Now he is playing for Sparta Praha. He might be a squad player for this UEFA Euro 2012 competition.
Tomáš Rosický is well known to all of us. He has struggled a bit with injuries but seem on his way to full fitness. He is, of course, the captain of this Czech side. Now 31 years of age, he takes a lot of responsibility. His vision and his range of passing and dynamic movements will be key to the offensive part of the Czech game plan. Another player that is important to Bilek is Jan Rezek, who plays in the money rich Cypriot league for Anorthosis Famagusta. He can take on any of the offensive positions in the attacking play, and usually has been deployed in some form of wingback role.
Kamil Vacek is enjoying playing time in Serie A for Chievo and has many of the same traits as the aforementioned players. He can play in a central position or in any of the more advanced roles. He is currently on the fringes of the Czech team, is knocking loudly on the door. Being only 24, he seems to have a good career in front of him. Most likely he will be coming off the bench during the Euro 2012 if need be.
Jan Polák, 31 and currently playing for Wolfsburg, can also take most of the central midfield role positions, plus he can take on the defensive midfield should the need arise. To say he has had a great season with Wolfsburg would be an overstatement, but he has played himself into better form as of late. Great timing in other words! He could be considered.
Spearing the attack either Tomáš Pekhart or Milan Baros usually takes the leading role. Milan Baros now plays for Galatasaray. He was never a huge success in England, although describing the pacey and fun to watch striker as a flop would be unjust. In Galatasaray he has rediscovered form and has a solid scoring record. As age is setting in, his goal scoring abilities has perhaps diminished somewhat, but he sure can pass the ball around, serving goals for others too. Given his experience and silky skills he is very likely to play this tournament for the Czechs. Tomáš Pekhart is a young, tall player currently with Nuremberg in Germany. He has had time at the Tottenham academy, and even been loaned out to Southampton at a very young age. We are definitely dealing with a very talented young man here, and he is likely to get quite a bit of game time. He is yet to score or provide an assist for the Czech Senior side, but as the holder of the Czech under 21 goal record much is expected of him.
Daniel Kolář is a versatile and attack minded player who can be deployed in an advanced attacking midfield role or slightly to the sides. He can also occupy a traditional central midfield role. He is one of several Viktoria Plzen players likely to get picked. David Lafata of Jablonec has yet again had a great season for his club in the Czech Gambrinus Liga. He is definitely sniffing on a place in the squad, and if he is picked he is likely to take a Center forward role. The guy clearly has taken quantum leaps forward the last couple of years and poured in the goals, so if he gets a chance, watch out.
Václav Pilař is a Wolfsburg player, but plays for Viktoria Plzen out this season. He is talented, and quite versatile. He can occupy most attacking roles. He could be a bits and parts player for Bilek in the Euro 2012. He is only 23, and could use the experience as he most likely will be around for a good decade. Jiří Štajner, however, doesn’t need the experience. With his 35 years of age this is definitely his last chance. Again we are dealing with a versatile player who can play in most attacking roles. Although he is unlikely to get the nod if measured up against Pilař.
Milan Petržela is yet another Viktoria Plzen player. He is often is included in the Czech squads, and he gets quite a bit of game time. The man has trickery and pace in abundance, but as of now he is not the preferred choice. The youtube video we linked to his name will make your footballing heart happy!
Tomáš Necid, 22, is a super talent and a CSKA Moscow player that the world is expecting a lot from. Unfortunately he has been out with injury, and just recently returned. The question is if he can play himself into the shape needed to fight for a spot come the Euro 2012. The guy is obviously very athletic and difficult to play against with his massive 6ft 3in (1.90m), but he also possess technical skills and good vision for his age. Necid is a future super star in the making, and a great asset on the CSKA books. We think Bilek has no choice but to include this player, considered to be one of the finest talents of European football.
Not the strongest lineup around for the offensive positions, but like all Czech teams they know how to handle the ball. The team is packed with capable players. That said; they will need Captain Rosický to find form, and they will need to get whoever they choose for the Center forward role to deliver the goods. If they can do that then this team will be a handful for everyone, as they got plenty of versatility in the squad for the other roles.
Home crowd factor
As the Czechs share borders with Poland and play in the same group as the hosts and Russia, expect a lot of fans to show up to support their team. This would normally be a very big plus, but against both Poland and Russia it is less of an advantage. Poland has lots of Russian people living there, and the trip from Russia isn't a long one either.
Betting value and odds
Given the fact that Czechs will show up to support their team, the odds might be a little high compared to those of their “groupmates”. That said; the odds on offer as of now are not that attractive. The team is simply a little bit too luck-dependant. We expect Group winner odds on Russia and perhaps Poland to be bet down, and then a small bet on this Czech side might be warranted. We’ll keep you updated on that so be sure to check on our betting tips and other Euro 2012 betting related material that we publish.