Vladimír Coufal and Tomáš Souček help Czech Republic to draw with Croatia at UEFA Euro 2020

Vladimir Coufal

West Ham United’s players continued their impressive starts to UEFA Euro 2020 as Czech Republic duo Vladimír Coufal and Tomáš Souček helped their country to a 1-1 draw with Croatia in Glasgow on Friday afternoon.

Both Hammers enjoyed opportunities to open the scoring inside the opening four minutes, with Coufal seeing his chest-and-volley strike deflected behind by Croatia’s Domagoj Vida before Souček’s header from the resulting corner landed on the roof of the net.

The Czech Republic were the dominant force in the opening stages and spurned a huge opportunity – again created by Coufal – when Patrik Schick miscued from the right-back’s accurate pull-back.

Schick would redeem himself soon after, however, converting coolly from the penalty spot after having been caught by a loose elbow by Dejan Lovren, leading to a contentious spot kick awarded retrospectively by VAR.

Croatia made a flying start to the second half, however, equalising after a quickly-taken free-kick saw Ivan Perisic cut in from the left flank and unleash a thunderous rising shot high across goal.

Not deterred, the Czech Republic went back on the offensive in a bid to reestablish their lead, a move involving Coufal leading to Souček having a first-time strike whistle narrowly past the far post.

And while Croatia arguably finished the stronger of the two teams, both teams will feel disappointed to have shared the spoils at Hampden Park, having enjoyed several good openings in the second half.

Tomas Soucek

Both Coufal and Souček were typically industrious in their output over the 90 minutes, with the defender producing a match-high six successful tackles, and the midfielder winning three aerial duels and having a passing accuracy of 91.1 per cent.

Having seen off Scotland in their opening Group D game on Monday afternoon – a game in which both Irons recorded assists – the result puts Czech Republic in a strong position to seal qualification for the knockout stages, with a final group-stage fixture against teammate Declan Rice and England to come on Tuesday night.

And as the dust settled on the draw, elsewhere in the same group, Rice was named in England’s starting eleven for the eagerly-anticipated visit of Scotland to Wembley.

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