Souček and Coufal help Czech Republic hold Belgium to draw

Soucek in action against Belgium


Vladimír Coufal and Tomáš Souček helped Czech Republic continue their unbeaten start to 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying with a creditable 1-1 Group E draw with Belgium on Saturday.

The West Ham United pair were both in the starting XI as the Czechs followed up their 6-2 away win over Estonia, a tie in which Souček scored his first international hat-trick, with another impressive performance in Prague.

Souček was named captain as he earned his 32nd cap on his first appearance on home turf since being named Czech Footballer of the Year for the second time, while Coufal was playing his 13th game for his country.

The hosts had the lion’s share of the chances on home turf and went ahead five minutes into the second half through a goal from Slavia Prague midfielder Lukáš Provod.

Belgium, who are No1 in the FIFA World Rankings, equalised ten minutes later through Inter Milan centre forward Romelu Lukaku.

The Czech Republic top Group E on goal difference ahead of Belgium, with both nations on four points, ahead of a trip to Cardiff to face Wales on Tuesday 30 March.

Elsewhere, Conor Coventry was not involved as Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 at home to Luxembourg in Group A. The result made it two defeats out of two for Stephen Kenny’s side, who started former Hammer Josh Cullen, now with Belgian club Anderlecht, in midfield.