Date: 17th June 2015 at 9:00am
Written by:

Czech Republic take on Denmark in the opening match of Group A as both sides look to impress in the 2015 European Under-21 Championship.

The Czechs host the tournament in which they seek to equal their championship winning campaign of 2002, where they beat France in a penalty shootout, but the hosts will have their work cut out in a difficult group which also features Germany and Serbia.

After qualifying as hosts, the Czech Republic have experience mixed fortunes in a series of friendlies but will be confident their home advantage will see them go far within the biannual tournament.

A 1-1 draw with Germany and a 2-2 result with Wednesday’s opponents Denmark have given the Czechs experience against group rivals but defeats to Norway, Slovakia and Austria in recent matches may have dented confidence ahead of the tournament.

The Danes too will be confident of their chances at the tournament after qualifying top of their group and remaining unbeaten throughout the qualification campaign.

Although Denmark have struggled in recent tournaments and failed to reach the last one in 2013, a comfortable qualification and a selection of talented youngsters at their disposal could see the Scandinavians go far in the tournament.

Comfortable victories over Russia and Bulgaria in qualification and a friendly victory over Italy in November shows their ability against technical sides but it remains to be seen whether this can be transferred to the tournament finals.

Sparta Prague defender and Czech captain Jakub Brabec will likely deputise alongside Chelsea’s Tomas Kalas.

First-choice striker Vaclav Kadlac is suspended for the opening match which will be a concern for Czech coach Jakub Dovalil, with Kadlac netting seven times in 13 under-21 matches.

Denmark’s Jores Okore missed out on the tournament squad through injury so Hellas Verona’s Frederik Sorensen is likely to continue in the heart of defence alongside Jannick Vestergaard who has significant experience at this level.

Pierre Emil Hojbjerg will undoubtedly be one of the players to watch at the tournament with the box-to-box midfielder almost certain to start, while wing man Viktor Fischer is another star to watch with the Ajax man already capped seven times by the senior Denmark side.

Form Guide: Czech Republic (L-L-L-W-D-D), Denmark (W-W-D-D-D-W)

Expected Starting XIs

Czech Republic: Koubek; Holes, Brabec, Kalas, Hybs; Petrak, Zmrhal, Takacs, Prikryl, Houska, Skalak

Denmark: Jensen; Scholz Sorensen, Vestergaard, Knudsen; Christensen, Hojbjerg, Norgaard, Poulsen, Fischer; Brock-Madsen.