Defending champions Spain will look to silence their critics when they open their Euro 2016 campaign against Czech Republic on Monday at Stadium de Toulouse in France. Both teams were drawn into Group D together with Turkey and Croatia.
Although it is not expected to be a walk in the park, the Spaniards are tipped to win their third consecutive European Championship crown. They will have to regroup quickly, though, as there were a lot of questions and uncertainties surrounding the squad heading into the tournament.
Spain’s top goalkeeper David De Gea remains questionable for the match after the Manchester United star was involved in a sex scandal. Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said no decision will be made until before the start of their Euro 2016 campaign, Mirror UK reported.
If De Gea misses their opener, Iker Casillas will likely to step in. Casillas will be expected to step up alongside national team veterans Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva and Gerard Pique. Nolito is also projected to play a big role against Czech Republic and for the entire tournament, ESPN’s predictions indicated.
On the other hand, Petr Cech will have his hands full and it is interesting to see how he will hold up on Monday. Veterans Tomas Rosicky and 26-year-old forward Tomas Necid will challenge Spain’s defensive line. The 35-year-old Rosicky has scored 23 goals in 103 international matches, while Necid has 11 strikes in 39 caps for Czech Republic.
Both teams lost in their recent friendlies with Spain absorbing a 1-0 loss to Georgia and Czech Republic taking a 2-1 setback against Korea Republic. Before dropping their respective final tune-up matches, Spain ran away with a 6-1 win over Korea Republic, while Czech Republic scored a 2-1 win over Russia.
Here are the predicted lineups in the Spain vs. Czech Republic match:
Spain: De Gea, Azpilicueta, Ramos, Pique, Bellerin, Iniesta, Busquets, Pedro, Fabregas, Silva, Nolito
Czech Republic: Cech, Limbersky, Kadlec, Sivok, Kaderabek, Krejci, Limbersky, Pavelka, Sural, Rosicky, Necid
Spain are considered favorites to win the European Championship again this year despite the distractions that surrounded the team heading into their opener. Czech Republic are expected to go all out, but it will likely won’t be enough to topple the defending champions. Spain 2-0.
The Spain vs. Czech Republic match will kickoff at 9 a.m. ET and will be shown live on ESPN3. Fans can also catch the action via online live stream on WatchESPN. More Euro 2016 broadcast schedule and live stream details are available on Live Soccer TV.