herald

Sunday 8 December 2019

Czechs target lions defence

Euro 2020 qualifier: Czech Rep v England (Live UTV 7.45)

England’s Raheem Sterling with team mates during England training
England’s Raheem Sterling with team mates during England training

Czech Republic head coach Jaroslav Silhavy will target England's defensive imperfections in tonight's Euro 2020 qualifier.

Gareth Southgate's men will secure a place at the finals with three matches to spare if they continue their 100 per cent start to life in Group A in Prague.

England have won all four qualifiers to date but were given a scare last time out by Kosovo, who took the lead at St Mary's thanks to some dreadful defending and threatened a second-half comeback as the hosts eventually held out for a 5-3 win.

That scoreline took Silhavy aback and gives the second-place Czechs hope of sealing a positive result at the Sinobo Stadium.

"We were quite surprised when we learned the match ended 5-3," he said.

"England made mistakes, but they don't repeat that often. England maybe could have scored nine goals so great strength.

"What we saw in that game was England are not perfect and we hope to take advantage."

It will take a mammoth effort to inflict the Three Lions' first defeat in 43 Euro and World Cup qualifiers, especially with the attacking threats at their disposal.

Raheem Sterling has been particularly impressive for his country, having scored eight and provided four more across his last eight England appearances.

"It's not only Raheem Sterling obviously," Silhavy said of the Manchester City forward.

"England have a great squad and it's all about teamwork. Sterling is really fast, but he has great team-mates.

"As to our plan, we really need to focus on him, guard him, not let him turn around and always know where he's at."

Meanwhile England's players should face sanctions from UEFA if they continue to talk about the possibility of racist abuse in Bulgaria, the president of the eastern European country's federation has said.

Borislav Mikhaylov, has written to European football's governing body to express his anger at comments from the England camp suggesting they could walk off the pitch if any of their players are racially abused.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News