We arrive at Group D with another European giant on display in the form of current European Champions Spain who will take on the impressive Czech Republic.
I'll start with a basic overview of the Czechs, who managed to qualify from Group A in 1st place! This group did contain an awful Netherlands side, however they did finish top of the group nonetheless. They definitely know where the goal is with 19 goals scored and coming from behind the other night against Russia to win 2-1 so there is goals in this team. There is a slight issue however, they also shipped 14 goals in qualifying which is by far the most goals conceded by a single team that made it to Euro 2016 and that's with Petr Cech in goal!
That being said they do have some talented players, I've said Petr Cech already but as well as him they have Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky (who is fit to play ladies and gentlemen!), Borek Dockal of Viktoria Plzen (their top scorer in qualifying) and Bursaspor striker Tomas Necid. They're not quite like the Czech Republic sides of old but they could cause a couple of shocks in this tournament if they manage to plug their leaky defence.
Spain are a magnificent team, they're the founders of the Tiki-Taka style of football that has dominated for the last 10 years or so and just like their playing style, they dominated for a few years before the last World Cup and now they're back. They have a few new faces and a few old faces and have left a few surprises back home but they're still a force to be reckoned with and will be one of the favourites to retain their European crown.
Strangely they left their top goal scorer in qualifying, Valencia's Paco Alcacer at home so they have a new strikeforce in Nolito, Morata, Aduriz and Vazquez but they're all top quality strikers. The veteran Aduriz is a target man that scores for Bilbao almost every week whilst Nolito has scored 4 in his last 2 games for Spain. Morata is another brilliant player from Juventus who has attracted the eye of a few Premier League clubs this summer.
Spain have the power and guile to dominate matches so expect them to have a lot of possession and wear teams down, starting with the Czechs.
I can't see this going any other way. Spain score lots of goals, they beat South Korea 6-1 in their last friendly game and the Czechs don't know how to defend. This could be a 4 or 5 goal margin.
Nolito has been on fire for Spain in recent games, scoring 4 goals in 2 games. He wasn't even expected to be on the plane but he's gotten into the squad over Diego Costa and Fernando Torres so he will be brimming with confidence and with the Czechs awful defensive record he could well take advantage.
Spain could run away with this game. Yes the Czechs did score a lot in qualifying and they beat Russia in their last game but Spain are a different kettle of fish. I fancy the Czechs to bag 1 goal but no more and Spain should pick them apart with ease.
If Spain get a foothold early, this could be a long afternoon for the Czechs. I don't even fancy them to keep Spain out in the opening 20 minutes, especially as they have something to prove after their woeful 2014 World Cup showing. I tip Spain to win both halves.
It depends if Vicente Del Bosque plays both Nolito and Morata, if he does it will be a close call but Nolito just pips Morata for me. Both accomplished finishers but Nolito is in the form of his life! My money will definitely be on the Celta Vigo man to break the deadlock.
With the Czechs defensive record and Spain's free flowing type of football, I can see after a while, the Czechs becoming really tired and bringing someone down. Especially if Aduriz comes on later in the game because he's not afraid to have a physical battle with defenders and causes a whole different type of threat to Nolito and Morata, can the Czech defence deal with the big man? Time will tell but I think a bet on them conceding a penalty or Spain scoring a penalty is a pretty decent bet that could return a nice bit of money for you.