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Group A: Serbia v Czech Republic preview

Czech Republic coach Jakub Dovalil feels his squad have learned the lessons of their opening defeat by Denmark as they prepare to face Group A rivals Serbia on Saturday.

Coach Jakub Dovalil feels the hosts can bounce back
Coach Jakub Dovalil feels the hosts can bounce back ©Sportsfile

Serbia coach Mladen Dodić warns his side they face a partisan crowd in Prague
"We'll play against 12 men – 11 on the pitch and one in the stands," he tells media
• Dodić has his full squad available for second Group A game 
Jakub Dovalil confirms Vacláv Kadlec and Tomáš Kalas to return after bans
"Serbia knocked out Spain, that says a lot," says Czech boss

Qualifying campaign (including play-off)
Serbia: P10 W6 D2 L2 F20 A11 (Group 9 runners-up)
Qualifying top scorer: Aleksandar Mitrović (4)

Czech Republic: Qualified as hosts

Form guide (including friendlies, most recent first)
Serbia: DWLWD
Czech Republic: LWWWL

Possible lineups
Serbia: Dmitrović; Stojković, Pantić, Spajić, Petrović; Brašanac, Čaušić; Jojić, Djuričić, Srnić; Pešić

Czech Republic: Koubek; Kadeřábek, Brabec, Kalas, Hybš; Petrák, Trávník; Frýdek, Kadlec, Krejčí; Kliment
Doubtful: Baránek (ribs), Frýdek (back)

Highlights: Germany 1-1 Serbia
Highlights: Germany 1-1 Serbia

Mladen Dodić, Serbia coach
We know that we'll play against 12 men tomorrow – 11 on the pitch and one in the stands. We respect that. Everyone will support the home team and try to beat us. We'll be ready for that, and we'll give everything. They will change their side a little; I have no doubts about my lineup. But I don't expect anything to be different. Everyone has 23 players at a similar level, and I think it'll be a very interesting match.

The main difference between us and the Czech Republic is that we went through qualifying, and played some tough competitive matches in the last two years. That was a disadvantage for the Czechs, as they couldn't test themselves competitively. But they have had enough time to prepare their team and their tactics. I saw they have worked a lot on counterattacking and are always aggressive when they are close to their opponents' goal.

Our advantage is that we have a lot of competitive games behind us in which we have worked to be prepared for games like tomorrow's. I expect it to be just as tough as the Germany game. Each of the eight teams can be champions, because they all have a lot of quality in their ranks. We want to stay in Prague, not just until the semi-final, but also the final. We're highly motivated to do that.

Jakub Dovalil, Czech Republic coach
We would like to play in the same way as we did in the first half against Denmark. When we analysed that game, we saw that we sat back and we lost possession too easily. We weren't aggressive enough, and that led to Denmark being able to put pressure on us. I think we know what went wrong.

Czech Republic crossbar challenge
Czech Republic crossbar challenge

There will be some changes to the lineup, but it won't be an entirely new XI. Kadlec and Kalas will help us. They will both play, and will bring their qualities to our game.

Serbia are individually skilled in attack. The team are well organised, disciplined, and they are very good on the counterattack. It's no coïncidence that [Filip] Djuričić has so many senior caps. He will be the main threat. They're a good team – they knocked out Spain, that says a lot, and they made a better start to the tournament than we did.

Senior internationals in squad
Serbia: Filip Djuričić (21), Miloš Jojić (5), Srdjan Mijailović (5)

Czech Republic: Ladislav Krejčí (14), Václav Kadlec (11), Pavel Kadeřábek (8), Tomáš Kalas (1)


Match fact
• Boško Janković scored the only goal of the game when these two sides met at the 2007 U21 EURO, where Serbia went on to reach the final. Check out all the details and much more in our extensive match background.