Sports Mole previews Monday’s Euro Champ Qualifying clash between Czech Republic and Moldova, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Czech Republic and Moldova meet on Monday evening in what is a winner-takes-all showdown with regards to qualification for Euro 2024.
Just two points separate the second and fourth-placed nations in Group E, the home side only requiring a point and the visitors needing all three.
At the start of this group, Czech Republic would have envisaged a relatively comfortable passage through to the finals given the level of teams in their group.
However, while they suffered just one defeat – away in Albania – in seven games, three draws have cost them, and there is still work ahead if they wish to qualify for their eight successive European Championship.
Their only victories in six competitive outings have come against the Faroe Islands, the home fixture ending 1-0, and it has highlighted the drop off in quality in Jaroslav Silhavy‘s team.
On a plus note, though, Czech Republic came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in Poland on Friday evening, Tomas Soucek netting the equaliser shortly after half time.
That goal proved crucial in eliminating Poland from the equation, leaving Czech Republic as clear favourites to seal their spot in the 24-nation competition.
Like their hosts, Moldova do not have the backup of a playoff spot should things not go their way on Monday, yet they are already in this position well and truly against the odds.
This is a team that finished behind Latvia in the most recent UEFA Nations League, but an eight-point return from four fixtures during this qualification campaign has catapulted them into contention.
As well as beating Poland 3-2 back in June, Serghei Clescenco‘s have since earned a draw in the reverse fixture against the same opponents and held Albania to a 1-1 scoreline on Friday.
Vladislav Baboglo‘s 87th-minute equaliser was not enough to prevent Albania from qualifying outright, yet it further showed that they should have the belief to cause a monumental upset in Olomouc.
Back in March, Moldova secured a goalless draw with Czech Republic on home territory, but they require maximum points to qualify for a major tournament for the very first time.
Czech Republic Euro Champ Qualifying form:
Czech Republic form (all competitions):
Moldova Euro Champ Qualifying form:
Moldova form (all competitions):
Advert – content below:
Silhavy replaced forward duo Mojmir Chytil and Jan Kuchta at half time against Poland and it would not come as a surprise to see them start on the Czech Republic substitute’ bench.
Tomas Cvancara and Adam Hlozek were introduced in their places and they may prove to be the only alterations to the starting lineup.
Alex Kral is an alternative in central midfield if Silhavy wants to bring fresh legs into the engine room.
Meanwhile, Moldova will likely be forced into at least one change with Ioan-Calin Revenco being withdrawn at half time through injury against Albania.
Maxim Cojocaru was introduced in his place and appears likely to deputise at right wing-back if required.
Barring any further fitness issues, Clescenco may be prepared to stick with the remainder of the side that started the last fixture.
Czech Republic possible starting lineup:
Stanek; Zima, Brabec, Holes; Coufal, Sadliek, Soucek, Doudera; Provod; Cvancara, Hlozek
Moldova possible starting lineup:
Railean; Posmac, Baboglo, Craciun; Cojocaru, Rata, Motpan, Reabciuk; Caimacov, Nicolaescu, Postolachi
We say: Czech Republic 2-0 Moldova
Having battled back to earn a draw with Albania, Moldova deserve respect ahead of this contest as they bid to make the breakthrough on the international scene. However, we feel that Czech Republic’s superior quality and experience will prove decisive, a goal in each half earning a professional win.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Previews by email