International Football

Czech Republic V Spain: Euro 2012 Preview, Team News, Prediction

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 17:  (L-R) Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, David Villa, Joan Capdevila and Sergio Busquets of Spain listen to their countries national anthems during the International Friendly match between Portugal and Spain at the Estadio da Luz on November 17, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Thomas AtzenhofferCorrespondent IIOctober 4, 2011

Spain has already qualified for the 2012 UEFA Championships and a win against the Czech Republic would prove they are ready for another run at the trophy after Fernando Torres won it for them in a 1-0 victory over Germany in 2008.

However, for the Czech Republic, it is a must win match. With Scotland sitting two points back of the central Europeans there is a chance that the Scots could leapfrog the Czechs if they win on Saturday. That would set up another set of must wins for both clubs the following Tuesday.

With Spain likely to field a less potent squad due to already having qualified, the Czech Republic will be hoping they can take full advantage. Their last international friendly against the Ukraine was won 4-0 with a brace from Bayer Leverkusen fullback Michal Kadlec in the first 15 minutes followed with second-half strikes by Jan Rezek and Daniel Kolar.

Several players will be missing for the Spanish side as Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta are both sidelined by injury. Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol were both on the bench for Barcelona this weekend against Sporting Gijon but are likely to opt out with their team already booked through.

Fernando Torres may have been suspended for Chelsea, but he will most likely have earned his place back on the side due to his recent return to goal scoring, and the electrifying form of David Silva should merit him a start in the midfield.

Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky should be a lock to hold down the creative force of the Czech midfield while Chelsea keeper Petr Cech should make his return to the starting lineup. The marauding prescience of Michal Kadlec will be one of the X factors for the home side against the visiting Spaniards.

Tomas Rosicky charges through the Scottish Midfield in their last European Qualifier.
Tomas Rosicky charges through the Scottish Midfield in their last European Qualifier.Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

This game is a make or break point for the Czechs as it will almost guarantee them a place in the Euros, and a win would most likely see Scotland crash out. There is still a chance for the Scots to overcome them if they fail to take any points against Spain, and if Scotland wins on Friday then wins or draws against the Spaniards next Tuesday, the Czechs' run to the Euros would be over.

Scotland will hope that is the case as they head into a match at Liechtenstein before return to another away match against Spain. They have a tough road but the adversity and results could see them top the Czech Republic depending on the outcome of their game against Spain.

Group I's second spot will be completely up for grabs over the weekend, and it will a great storyline to follow during these final days of the 2012 European Championship qualifying stages.

Match Prediction:

Spain are still just simply too good for the Czechs despite a valiant effort; 2 - 1 to Spain.

Possible Lineups

Czech Republic Starting XI: Petr Cech; Roman Hubnek, Tomas Sivok, Tomas Hubschman, Michal Kadlec; Petr Jiracek, Tomas Rosicky, Jan Rezek, Daniel Kolar; Milan Baros, Milan Petrzela.

Spain Starting XI: Iker Casillas; Alvaro Arbeloa, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, David Silva, Sergio Busquets; Juan Mata, Alvaro Negrado, David Villa.

Players to Watch: David Silva and Michal Kadlec.

For additional match information and news you can also check out the Euro 2012 Qualifiers: 5 Games to Watch on October 7th, 2011.

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