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Sunday, 19 June 2011

Battle of Viborg: Pearce’s men must win

Stuart Pearce’s under 21 side know that they must win against the Czech Republic on Sunday evening to avoid an early tournament exit in the European Under 21 tournament in Denmark. England have opened up their campaign with successive draws against Spain and Ukraine. The Czech’s meanwhile beat Ukraine but lost last time out 2-0 to Spain, a game in which they very much looked second best.

England are boosted with the news that both towering defender Chris Smalling and midfielder Henri Landsbury are fit to play. There are rumours about changes to the starting XI, pundits are calling for the inclusion of Swansea flyer Scott Sinclair and Bolton defensive midfielder Fabrice Muamba to fill the holding midfield role that captain Michael Mancienne has flattered to deceive in during the opening two matches.

The Czech side were many people’s choice to go well during the tournament and that could very much still happen. The Czech coach, Jakob Davolil has himself hinted at changes to his team that did so well in qualifying for the competition. Ex Tottenham and Southampton striker Tomas Pekhart bagged 9 goals in qualifying but is yet to find the net in Denmark, Libor Kozak, who plays his club football for Lazio is the likely beneficiary. Midfielder Lukas Maracek has also been told that he’ll be given his first start of the tournament.

The Czech Republic have managed just 5 shots on target in the first two matches added to England’s impressive defensive options and the Czech don’t seemingly pose too much threat in the final third. During qualification they notched an impressive 25 goals, however 13 of these came against minnows San Marino. England have conceded the solitary goal in the competition and they, through Danny Welbeck, have scored just one goal.

It’s clear that England do have the quality throughout the squad to score goals Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, and Scott Sinclair all had fantastic seasons domestically and if Pearce is brave enough to start them all then England can take the game to their Czech counterparts.

Back England at 6/5 2.5pts
Back England win to nil at 5/2 1.5pts
Back Scott Sinclair to score at any time at 4/1 1pt
Back England 2-0 at 11/1 0.5pts


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