Patrik Schick (left) and Kasper Dolberg (right) know how to find the back of the net
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Style of play
Czech Republic are ranked 40th in the world and have already been beaten by England at Euro 2020, though that match was a final group game with both teams already assured of qualification to the knockout stage.
Jaroslav Silhavy’s team are very similar to England: well-organised, compact and defensively disciplined, with a high-pressing approach in what is essentially a 4-2-3-1 formation. With only two goals conceded so far, they have become renowned for their uncompromising set-up in defence.
The excellent Slavia Prague midfielder Tomas Holes is also crucial to the Czech set-up, playing as the main pivot in front of the back four alongside West Ham’s Tomas Soucek.
Denmark have played with either four or three at the back with captain Simon Kjaer and Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen both ever-present so far, while Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is in arguably the best form of his career. Whatever their defensive set-up, they usually play with two holding midfielders in Thomas Delaney and Tottenham’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who are there to spoil and stifle the opposition.
Kasper Hjulmand, their impressive head coach, has frequently switched tactics during games to combat the opposition but always sticks with the basic formula of dominating possession and utilising the wide areas.
Performances and results have improved over the course of the tournament, though Denmark will now be without the backing of their wonderful supporters who filled Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.
Denmark fans cheer on their team inside the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen
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Denmark would undoubtedly represent more of a threat to England from an attacking sense, after scoring eight goals in their last two matches before facing the Czechs. There were doubts before the tournament over where the goals would come from, with Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite struggling in particular at club level, but Kasper Dolberg’s two well-taken goals against Wales have eased any concerns. They also possess threats in wide areas, despite the absence of their most creative player in Christian Eriksen.
Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick has been one of the stars of the tournament so far, ever since announcing himself at Euro 2020 with that remarkable 54-yard lob against Scotland. He now has four goals to his name and has relished the pressure of being their focal point in attack.
Behind him there are individually gifted players such as Antonin Barak, whose free role enables him to switch from left to right. Against the Netherlands, in their stunning 2-0 victory, they also proved dangerous from set-pieces, and they have a direct approach which will test fragile defences.
Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick has been one of the stars of the tournament
Denmark have responded admirably after Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in the group game against Finland, and it does feel like momentum is behind them.
With Eriksen recovering after being discharged from hospital, it is perhaps fitting that Mikkel Damsgaard has emerged as one of their greatest threats, producing performances to evoke memories of the Inter Milan midfielder.
Damsgaard has been fearless, and the winger has already become the nation’s youngest-ever goalscorer at a major tournament at the age of 20 years and 353 days. He has the potential to deliver a moment of magic out of nowhere, so it is inevitable that he has been nicknamed “Damsinho” due to his Brazilian style of play
Czech Republic will undoubtedly look to Schick for their inspiration, though their victory over the Netherlands – arguably the shock of Euro 2020 so far – proved they have many other weapons in their armoury. If Silhavy’s squad do return to Wembley for a rematch with England, they cannot be taken lightly.
Mikkel Damsgaard (left) has shone for Denmark
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If they get through, England will want to play Czech Republic. They defeated England on the road to Euro 2020 but are beatable, playing in a style with which Gareth Southgate is familiar and can match. Denmark are a genuine threat at this level and have the momentum behind them from the Eriksen incident, which they are using as a positive.