London (AFP) – The Czech Republic will travel to Wembley for Tuesday’s Euro 2020 game against England knowing what they do not want — to repeat the 5-0 thrashing they suffered in a qualifier in 2019.
“Of course we remember that game very well,” Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy told reporters in London on Monday.
“We have learnt, we have gone some way since that match and I believe tomorrow’s game will be different, better for us.”
Inspired by Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick, England handed the Czechs their worst-ever defeat since the country gained independence in 1993 by splitting with Slovakia two years ago.
The Czechs exacted a measure of revenge when they won 2-1 at home six months later to qualify for the Euro as the second team in the group behind England.
They can now take that even further — all they need to win Group D is a point against the Three Lions.
“They are still an extremely strong opponent full of stars,” said Czech captain Vladimir Darida, who played both qualifiers against England.
“But in their latest games they did not work as well as in the qualification and we would like to capitalise on that,” added the Hertha Berlin midfielder.
England beat Croatia 1-0 before being held to a goalless draw by Scotland, while the Czechs beat Scotland 2-0 and then drew 1-1 with Croatia.
“We would like to perform the way we did when we won in Prague. The players know how much effort they gave, how they worked hard, how responsible they were then,” said Silhavy.
The Czechs can rely on in-form striker Patrik Schick, who has scored all their three goals at the Euro.
England’s Harry Kane, on the other hand, has been lagging behind expectations.
“He is still an outstanding forward, a very smart striker with a great finish, but… I believe we will be strong enough tomorrow to prevent him from scoring,” said Silhavy.
The game will decide the winner of Group D, who will face the second-placed team from Group F at Wembley on June 29 in the last 16.
Potential opponents include powerhouses France, Germany and Portugal, but Darida said calculations were not on the table ahead of the Wembley game.
“We would like to win the group, it would be a success and it would be nice to continue at Wembley,” said Darida.
“We have it in our hands.”