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Group A: Czech Republic v Denmark preview

Czech Republic coach Jakub Dovalil knows the hosts will start as underdogs against Denmark but is nonetheless hopeful of springing a surprise in their Group A opener.

Jakub Dovalil (right) hopes his strategy will catch Denmark off guard
Jakub Dovalil (right) hopes his strategy will catch Denmark off guard ©Sportsfile

Hosts will "try to surprise" Denmark in Group A opener, says coach Jakub Dovalil
• Václav Kadlec and Tomáš Kalas are suspended for the Czechs, but Ondřej Petrák is fit
"It's 60-40 in Denmark's favour," admits Dovalil. "My team are eager"
Denmark's Jess Thorup warns free-scoring side "it also depends on how we defend"
Pierre Højbjerg's hamstring injury "looks OK", says Thorup

Qualifying campaign (including play-off)
Czech Republic: Qualified as hosts

Denmark: P10 W8 D2 L0 F37 A9 (Group 2 winners)

Qualifying top scorer: Lasse Vigen Christensen (5)

Form guide (including friendlies, most recent first)
Czech Republic: WWWLD
Denmark: DWDWD

Possible lineups
Czech Republic:
Koubek; Kadeřábek, Brabec, Baránek, Hybš; Petrák, Zmrhal; Skalák, Frýdek, Krejčí; Přikryl
Out: Kadlec (suspended), Kalas (suspended)


Denmark: Busk; Scholz, Sørensen, Vestergaard, Knudsen; Christensen, Vigen Christensen; Bech, Højbjerg, Fischer; Poulsen
Doubtful: Højbjerg (hamstring), Bech (knee), Poulsen (thigh), Berggreen (undisclosed)

Jakub Dovalil, Czech Republic coach
We have paid a lot of attention to our tactics during our training camp and here in Prague. We have shown the players the strengths and weaknesses of the Denmark side. We've analysed their set pieces and will try to surprise them.

The chances are 60-40 in their favour. They get forward in numbers and Fischer, Poulsen and Vestergaard are very good players.

We won't use a traditional motivational video as I don't want my players over-hyped. They're all eager to play and I told them the Denmark coach has not lost since he took charge but that all runs have to come to an end some time.

Watch ten of the best U21 goals
Watch ten of the best U21 goals

Jess Thorup, Denmark coach
We're looking forward to the opening game in front of a full house. It doesn't matter who's favourite for the opening game. We're lookng forward to starting the tournament, hopefully with a good result. We all know that we're going into the tournament with the eight best teams. We know it'll be a very difficult game – it's the opening match. We're going to meet a very strong team and we have to be ready for the game.

Pierre [Højbjerg] arrived back at the hotel last night. It looks OK. We have the training session this evening and we'll have to see how his fitness is, but it looks OK.

We're very satisfied with our qualifying campaign. We scored a lot of goals – we're good at that – but we also know that at this tournament, we might not have the ball quite as much as we did in qualifying, so it also depends on how we defend and not only on our forwards.

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


Denmark: Pierre Højbjerg (7), Viktor Fischer (7), Yussuf Poulsen (5), Jannik Vestergaard (3), Uffe Bech (3), Jonas Knudsen (2), Andreas Christensen (2), Riza Durmisi (1), Nicolaj Thomsen (1), Rasmus Falk (1)

Match fact
• These teams met as recently as November last year when they played out a 2-2 draw in the same stadium in which they will go head-to-head on Wednesday. Check out the details and much more in our extensive match background.