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Preview: Czech Republic vs. Wales - prediction, team news, lineups
08/10/2021 14:03:02

Wales travel to Prague to face Czech Republic on Friday evening in a crucial World Cup 2022 qualifying clash for both sides.


The teams are level on points ahead of the game at Eden Arena in their battle for second place behind runaway Group E leaders Belgium.


We say: Czech Republic 1-1 Wales


While this is not quite do-or-die for both sides, the outcome of this game could go a long way to determining who finishes second to Belgium in Group E.


Wales won the reverse fixture in March through a late Daniel James goal, but that game was very tight, and we can see a similar type of contest here with the points being shared.


Match preview


While Wales are behind the Czech Republic on goal difference, they boast a game in hand on their opponents across the final five weeks of qualifying.


Interim boss Rob Page will be disappointed his side do not have a points advantage on the Czechs, though, having been held at home to Estonia last time out.


Playing in front of a packed home crowd for the first time in almost two years, Estonia keeper Karl Hein produced a number of fine saves to frustrate Page's men.


However, Wales did manage to beat Belarus 3-2 in their other September fixture through a Gareth Bale hat-trick, meaning that second place is still officially in their hands.


A defeat in Prague on Friday will change that, though, especially as the Dragons still have the world's top-ranked country Belgium to face in their remaining four games.


The Czech Republic may therefore consider a point a positive outcome here, but Jaroslav Silhavy's side will head into the game with the aim of picking up just a second win in five.


The Eastern European nation were beaten 3-0 by Belgium last time out in qualifying before playing out a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in a friendly match.


Silhavy's charges are unbeaten in nine qualifiers and Nations League games on their own patch, a run that includes a 1-1 draw with Belgium this campaign.


Both teams do have the safety net of advancing to the playoffs even should they finish third due to their Nations League finishes, but neither side will want to risk that.


Team News


Wales will be without star player Bale for their back-to-back away games with the Czech Republic and Estonia through injury.


The Real Madrid man has been involved in all five of the Dragons' goals this qualifying campaign, leaving a huge void to be filled in the side.


There is some good news for Page, however, as Kieffer Moore and Aaron Ramsey, who missed last month's fixtures, are both part of the squad.


Joe Rodon and Connor Roberts have lacked playing time this term, but the former should still get the nod here.


After Ben Davies was ruled out on Wednesday through illness, along with David Brooks, Roberts may also now be given a reprieve alongside Chris Mepham.


As for the home side, they will also be without a key player or two as Vladimir Coufal, Lukas Masopust, Petr Sevcik and Jan Boril have all withdrawn from the squad.


Silhavy has some tough selection calls to make, but there is no doubt over who will lead the line as Patrik Schick aims to add to his 11 goals from his last 15 international caps.


Jakub Pesek and Adam Hlousek are likely to get the nod either side of Bayer Leverkusen striker Schick.


Czech Republic possible starting lineup:

Vaclik; Mateju, Kalas, Celustka, Novak; Holes, Soucek; Pesek, Barak, Hlousek; Schick


Wales possible starting lineup:

Ward; Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, Gunter; Morrell, Allen; Wilson, Ramsey, James; Moore

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