Wednesday 8 Nov

Iceland vs Czech Republic - Match Preview

08 Nov 2017 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL: International Friendly Games
INTERNATIONAL: International Friendly Games

Iceland

  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

vs

Kick-off
14:45 GMT
08 November 2017

Czech Republic

  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Kick-off
14:45 GMT 08 November 2017

The international break returns as we find out the final teams that will be competing at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia through the use of the age-old play-off system. However, one side who have already secured their place in the competition next summer is Iceland and they will face the Czech Republic, who just missed out on a play-off place, in a friendly in Qatar. Why it is being played in Qatar, we don’t know for sure, but with the Qatar World Cup being 5 years away, it certainly won’t do any harm.

STATS

  • Iceland historically booked their place in Russia after their incredible Euro 2016 campaign, which saw them famously knock-out England. They topped their group ahead of Croatia after picking up 22 points from their 10 qualifying fixtures. They were massive underdogs to qualify as Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey were all expected to finish above the minnows. But they defied the odds once again and made sure they will be at yet another major tournament.
  • It was a very disappointing qualifying effort from Czech Republic who finished below Northern Ireland in Group C. While they were never going to win a group with Germany in, they still had high hopes of ensuring qualification ahead of the high-spirited Northern Irish. The international retirements of Petr Cech and Thomas Rosicky hit them hard and in the end, they didn’t have the character to bounce back from such big dressing room losses.
  • Gylfi Sigurdsson is by far Iceland’s strongest player and the Everton man will need to be on song if his nation are to come anywhere near recreating what they did in France in 2016.
  • Tomas Necid is Czech Republic’s main threat in front of goal but he struggled in the qualifying group due to a lack of consistent game time.

HEAD TO HEAD

In the last five meetings between these sides on the international stage, there hasn’t been a single draw as Iceland have won two while the Czechs have won three. The last two fixtures came back in qualifying for the 2016 European Championships and both sides managed a win each on those occasions. They both finished with a scoreline of 2-1 but I can’t see this upcoming match having as much action with the stifling heat of one of the world’s warmest countries.

ICELAND NEWS

Although there is nothing resting on this match in terms of points, it is still important that Iceland perform well. They may field a weaker side than the one we will see in Russia and this could cost them the result.

Latest matches: Iceland

09.10.2017 Worl Iceland Kosovo 2:0 W
06.10.2017 Worl Turkey Iceland 0:3 W
05.09.2017 Worl Iceland Ukraine 2:0 W
02.09.2017 Worl Finland Iceland 1:0 L
11.06.2017 Worl Iceland Croatia 1:0 W

CZECH REPUBLIC NEWS

It will feel like a very pointless match for the Czech Republic to be involved seeing as they will play no part in next summer's proceedings. They are also expected to put out a much younger team so that they can assess their promising youth players.

Latest matches: Czech Republic

08.10.2017 Worl Czech Republic San Marino 5:0 W
05.10.2017 Worl Azerbaijan Czech Republic 1:2 W
04.09.2017 Worl Northern Ireland Czech Republic 2:0 L
01.09.2017 Worl Czech Republic Germany 1:2 L
10.06.2017 Worl Norway Czech Republic 1:1 D

SUMMARY

It definitely won't be a classic in Qatar in a match that has little more than national pride on the line. Although, with players likely to feature who wouldn't usually be involved, they will be desperate to impress their respective bosses. It may come down to which side can cope with the heat better but on paper, it looks set to be a very close game. There hasn't been a draw between these two sides in the history of the fixture but it is looking likely that this could be the first one.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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