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Preview: Belarus vs. Czech Republic - prediction, team news, lineups
11/10/2021 13:50:10

Czech Republic cannot mathematically catch Group E leaders Belgium anymore, and with two games to go in this World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign, Jaroslav Silhavy's side are aiming to retain their current second-place position.

Belarus are Czech Republic's hosts on Monday evening, and the home side are looking to end the six-game losing streak that they are currently enduring.

We say: Belarus 1-2 Czech Republic

Czech Republic showed some defensive frailties against Wales on Friday which is why it is likely Belarus will be able to get on the scoresheet on Monday.

However, with a lot at stake for Silhavy's side, they should be attempting to dominate the game in Kazan and they are the favourites for three points in this fixture.

Match preview

Belarus won their first game in Group E back in March, but those three points would end up being the only points that Georgi Kondratiev's side have managed to pick up to this point.

Improvements within the team were demonstrated last month when they faced Belgium in the qualifiers and only lost by a scoreline of 1-0, compared to their first outing against the Red Devils, who demolished Kondratiev's side 8-0 in March.

However, the start of their international week this month continued their losing run as they fell to a 2-0 defeat when they travelled to Estonia on Friday.

Belarus' wait for an appearance at the World Cup will go on, having never qualified for the major tournament as an independent country, and Czech Republic will be looking to use that to their advantage on Monday.

Czech Republic are winless in their last three outings, including a friendly fixture against Ukraine, and Silhavy would have been happier if his side could have secured all three points against Wales on Friday evening.

The Welshmen have a game in hand on Czech Republic, and the opening game of this month's international week was an opportunity for Silhavy's team to open a gap between themselves and third place, but after a 2-2 draw in Prague the two teams remain level on points.

Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring at the Sinobo Stadium but the visitors' lead did not last long, with Jakub Pesek equalising for Czech Republic just over one minute later.

The home side were then gifted a second goal when Ramsey's back-pass was missed by goalkeeper Danny Ward, but Silhavy's team could not keep a hold of their lead with Daniel James levelling the scoreline, and that is how the game went on to finish.

Three points for Czech Republic against Belarus on Monday is vital for Silhavy's team, who will also want to increase their goal difference, just to put more pressure on Wales to catch them.

For that to happen, the visitors will need to be in better form in front of goal than they were the last time Belarus met Czech Republic, who only secured a 1-0 win despite having 24 attempts at goal.

Team News

Belarus fielded quite a different team against Estonia to the side which started last month's qualifier against Belgium, with only four players being named in both of those starting lineups.

Out of the players which started on Friday evening, striker Vitali Lisakovich was the last player to score for Belarus at the beginning of last month against Wales, and he is certain to lead the line for the home side on Monday.

Patrik Schick received a straight red card when Czech Republic travelled to Cardiff in March, and he returned to the side on Friday after serving his two-match ban in Group E.

Left-back Filip Novak had not featured for his country since November 2020, but he earned another cap as he returned to the starting lineup last time out.

Ales Mateju replaced West Ham United's Vladimir Coufal, who has withdrawn from the squad due to injury, in the right-back position against Wales, and Coufal's club teammate Tomas Soucek captained his country and edged closer to 50 international appearances.

Czech Republic's attacking front four earned the highest ratings in the Czech's side on Friday evening, suggesting that it is likely Adam Hlozek, Antonin Barak, Pesek and Schick will all start for the visitors on Monday.

Belarus possible starting lineup:

Pavlyuchenko; Shevchenko, Bordachev, Yudenkov, Begunov; Klimovich, Yablonski, Selyava, Bykov; Lisakovich, Solovei

Czech Republic possible starting lineup:

Vaclik; Novak, Celustka, Kalas, Mateju; Soucek, Kral; Hlozek, Barak, Pesek; Schick

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