England will secure automatic qualification for the Euro 2020 knockout stages if they avoid defeat against Czech Republic in the final group game at Wembley on Tuesday night.
But the Three Lions will only go through as group winners if they beat the Czechs, who are currently leading the group after the first two rounds of matches.
Some England fans have already expressed hope that England actually do finish second as it would mean an easier Last 16 tie against the second-placed team from Group E – one of Poland, Slovakia, Spain or Sweden. Winning the group would mean facing the runner-up of Group F in the next round, which is going to be either France, Germany or Portugal.
However, even finishing second in the group and getting the easier Last 16 route could well still put Gareth Southgate’s team up against a Group F side in the quarter-finals instead.
Czech Republic on the other hand have perhaps surprised in Group D so far. They made light work of Scotland in their opening game, which is more than England managed, and then went on to hold Croatia to a draw to put themselves in a strong position now.
Here’s a look about everything you need to know about the decisive clash…
When is kick off? Tuesday 22 June, 20:00 (BST)
Where is the match being played? Wembley Stadium
What TV channel is it on? ITV1/ITV Hub (UK), fuboTV/ESPN (US)
Who’s the referee? Artur Dias (POR)
Who’s the VAR? Joao Pinheiro (POR)
*You can find out how to watch every Euro 2020 game here.
Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy has had a largely settled team so far in this tournament, making only one change from the first game to the second when he swapped Alex Kral for Tomas Holes.
Patrik Schick is the danger man for England to look out for. The Bayer Leverkusen striker has scored three goals in two games, including a strong contender for goal of the tournament, while there are familiar faces in West Ham duo Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek.
Before the tournament even began, this was the game earmarked as Harry Maguire’s potential comeback after recovering from an ankle ligament problem he suffered towards the end of the Premier League season with Manchester United.
England fans will also be keen for Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford to start to give more attacking impetus, while there are clamours for Jadon Sancho to get at least some minutes after so far being left out. Further back, Jordan Henderson could be recalled in midfield to replace Kalvin Phillips, who impressed against Croatia but came under fire following a limited performance against Scotland.
Czech Republic: Vaclik; Coufal, Celutska, Kalas, Boril; Soucek, Kral; Masopust, Darida, Jankto; Schick
England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson; Rashford, Mount, Grealish; Kane
Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia as a nation in 1993 after the bloodless Velvet Revolution, England have played Czech Republic on only four occasions, and just twice in a competitive setting.
What’s more, after friendly encounters in 1998, a 2-0 England win, and 2008, a 2-2 draw, both competitive games took place as recently as 2019 in qualifying for this very tournament.
England ran out impressive 5-0 winners at Wembley thanks to a Raheem Sterling hat-trick, while the reverse fixture in Prague ended in a surprise 2-1 defeat.
Before 1993, England had a strong record against Czechoslovakia, winning seven of 12 meetings between 1934 and 1992 and losing only twice. England won tournament games at the 1970 and 1982 World Cups, while they won 3-0 less than two years before Czechoslovakia won Euro ’76.
England know they have what it takes to beat Czech Republic at Wembley because this exact fixture finished 5-0 the last time it was played a little over two years ago.
But tournament football is different and England have struggled to get going so far and are certainly nothing like the free scoring side that netted 37 times in 10 qualifying games.
Fans are desperate for Southgate to slacken the reins even just a little bit and let loose more of his immensely talented attacking players. But whether he will is another question.
Prediction: Czech Republic 1-2 England