Gareth Southgate’s team travel to Prague knowing that a win against second placed Czech Republic would be massive in securing qualification for the finals. England are three points clear of the Czechs a the top of the group – with a game in hand, so a win would go a long way towards topping the table.
England won the reverse fixture 5-0 in a match where Raheem Sterling stole the show. The talented winger scored his first hat-trick in an England shirt as he terrorised the opponent’s defence. This was not the only game that Sterling has scored in though, he has scored first in three of the last five international games which he has scored in.
England have been in superb qualifying form for some time now. In fact, you have to go back 43 games to find the Three Lions’ last qualifying defeat. Four wins from four in this campaign has firmly put Southgate’s team in control of the group. England have scored four or more in each of those games too.
Czech Republic are not in bad form either though. They have won their last three competitive home matches including a 3-0 win over Montenegro most recently. The Czechs have scored before half-time in their last five home games, as well as keeping a clean sheet in four of their last six.
This, on paper at least, should be England’s toughest game of qualifying so if they can come through with a victory, there will be little doubt of them reaching the finals.
Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard have been left out of the squad after a poor start to the season. James Maddison and Ross Barkley are named in the squad instead. Fabian Delph had to withdraw from the squad after picking up an injury. Chelsea youngsters Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham all made Southgate’s squad.
Manager Jaroslav Silhavy is without defenders Pavel Kaderabek and Tomas Kalas due to injury. RB Leipzig striker Patrik Schick is available though which is a boost.
Raheem Sterling has been in excellent form for his country and bagged a hat-trick in the reverse of this fixture. I fancy Sterling to net again in this one. Sterling to score anytime is 2.50.
England have been a bit shaky at the back in some of these qualifiers and I can see them conceding in this one too. Southgate’s men let in three to Kosovo where they looked far from convincing defensively. England did win that one 5-3 though so it was not too much of a problem thanks to their attacking strength. Czech Republic have scored in their last four qualifiers. They have even scored in their last seven competitive home internationals. England to win and BTTS is 3.25