June 1, 2022 Sports Match
Czech Republic face World Cup finalists Switzerland in their first UEFA Nations League match on Thursday, following their promotion to Europe’s top division the previous season.
The teams will meet in Prague at the start of a demanding June calendar, with the hosts looking to get off to a quick start in League A Group B and the visitors prepared to participate on the international stage later this year.
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The Czech Republic will participate at the highest level of Europe’s newest international tournament this time after two campaigns in the Nations League’s second tier, League B.
The Czech Republic earned promotion to the 2020 edition by winning four of their six matches, and they will now face continental giants Portugal and Spain, as well as Thursday night’s opponents.
Jaroslav Silhavy’s side will play both Iberian opponents in the next weeks, including games at home and away against La Roja.
Despite finishing third in their group behind Belgium and Wales, they advanced to the playoffs due to past Nations League performances, but were then eliminated by Sweden at die minutes.
Despite that setback, subsequent success – notably a quarter-final berth at Euro 2020 – led to Silhavy’s contract extension last month, and he now leads his team into a new era.
Even if numerous guys from that group are absent this summer, the prestige of battling with some of Europe’s best teams should motivate a squad that drew 1-1 with Wales in their most recent excursion.
Switzerland, semi-finalists in the inaugural Nations League in 2019, had a less successful second season due to tight competition in League A.
In 2020, being third behind Spain and Germany was still a respectable result, but the Nati only won one of their six matches in a group that also included Ukraine.
They’ve gone from strength to strength since then, with a flawless transition from previous coach Vladimir Petkovic’s administration – under whom Switzerland notably knocked out neighbours France at Euro 2020 – to that of former international defender Murat Yakin.
With five wins and three draws, the Swiss went undefeated in their World Cup qualification campaign. They stunned European champions Italy, scoring 15 goals and conceding only twice to win Group C and go to the finals.
Despite the fact that this summer presents an opportunity to face some of their hardest opponents – following spring friendlies against England and Kosovo – Yakin has stated that his major goal is to maintain rhythm ahead of the team’s travel to Qatar in November.
In the absence of both Barak and Schick, the Czechs aren’t the best equipped to make the jump up in class at the moment, and may find adjusting to life in League A particularly difficult.
As one of Europe’s best footballing nations, Switzerland can now capitalize on their superior attacking options, kicking off their newest Nations League campaign with a bang.