Czech Republic Live At Euro 2008
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If one had to name a team that could replace the Dutch as the best side not able to win titles on a consistent basis, it would have to be the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic is a young team, having been formed after the erstwhile Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For a team that is little over a decade old, they have done incredibly well, and are currently in the top ten football nations of the world. Time and again, they have proved that they can make the best in the world look pedestrian on their day, but there is no glittering silverware in their cabinet to show off. This summer, at Austria and Switzerland, the Czechs will be making their fourth appearance at the European championships, and they would want to end their title drought. With equally impressive defensive and attacking players, no pundit or fan would want to miss the Czechs when they play in Euro 2008. And we at the Live Sport Network, are giving you the chance to watch the Czechs battle against Europe's best, for a small price of £9.99. This price also allows you to watch all major league games across the world for a year, at no extra cost.
The Czech Republic had a fairly easy time during qualification, scoring twenty nine points from twelve games. They topped Group D ahead of Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia. Their sole loss came at home to Germany, with a Kevin Kuranyi brace enough to secure a 2-1 win for the visitors. However they did have their revenge with a 3-0 win at the Allianz Arena a few months later, with those three points confirming their spot at Euro 2008. Topping the group was important for the Czechs, for it marked a rebuilding phase after a disappointing 2006 World Cup, compounded by the double retirement of Pavel Nedved and Karel Poborsky.
The game schedule for Karel Bruckner's side reads as follows :-
June 7- Czech Republic vs Switzerland in Basel ( 18.00- the opening game of Euro 2008)
June 11- Czech Republic vs Portugal in Geneva ( 18.00)
June 15- Czech Republic vs Turkey in Geneva ( 20.45)
All timings given are CEST ( UTC + 2)
As Czechoslovakia, the Czechs enjoyed great success at the European Football Championship. They came third in the first edition of the tournament in 1960. Their next appearance came in 1976, when Yugoslavia hosted the tournament. The Czechs needed extra time to beat the Netherlands in the last four, and won a tense final 5-4 on penalties against Germany in Belgrade. At Italy 1980, the Czechs finished second in Group A behind West Germany, but ahead of the Netherlands. The tournament did not have any semifinals, with the runners up in each group directly playing in the third place match. The Czechs, therefore, played the hosts in Naples for the right to finish on the podium. Ladislav Jurkemik gave them the lead in the second half, but Francesco Graziani cancelled it out. The match went to penalties, and when Fulvio Colvati failed to convert his spot kick, the Czechs were pronounced winners, winning 9-8 in the shootout.
At Euro 1996, making their first appearance as the Czech Republic, the Czechs were put into Group C, also consisting of Germany, Russia and Italy. They lost to Germany, beat the Italians and drew 3-3 with the Russians. Karel Poborsky's solitary goal was enough to beat Portugal in Birmingham, setting up a semifinal clash against France. Reynald Pedros missed the decisive penalty for Les Bleus, and the Czechs advanced to the final at Wembley. Oliver Bierhoff scored the first golden goal in the history of football to give the Germans a 2-1 win. At Euro 2000, they were placed in Group D along with the Dutch and the French, and the two heavyweights advanced to the next round at the expense of the Czechs.
The Czechs started off Euro 2004 well. Placed in the Group of Death, the Czechs took nine points out of a possible nine, with wins over the Netherlands, Latvia and Germany. Denmark were brushed off 3-0 in the quarterfinal, and reaching the final seemed a foregone conclusion, with outsiders Greece to meet them in the last four. However the Greeks proved to be spoilsports as Trainios Dellas scored a silver goal from a corner, and the Czechs were made to rue their missed chances.
The Czechs have Chelsea's Petr Cech in goal. Cech is widely acknowledged as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, with his height and reflexes. The backline was extremely miserly, letting in only five goals in qualifying. There are some capable defenders in there- David Rozenhal in the centre, Marek Jankulovski at left, Zdenek Grygera on the right, Tomas Ujfalusi and Radoslav Kovac. Their midfield has creativity aplenty. Tomas Galasek has a wealth of experience. Tomas Rosicky, arguably their best player, is fighting against the clock to be able to play in this tournament. He is nicknamed " Little Mozart " for a reason, and if he is unavailable, it would be a big blow for the Czechs. There are also rumours floating around about Pavel Nedved thinking of coming out of retirement. Big Jan Koller is definitely playing his last European tournament, and would like to go out on a high.
Can the Czechs win this tournament for their coach?. Karel Bruckner has announced his intentions to step down at the end of Euro 2008, and a win would serve as an ideal parting gift for a man who has been part of the Czech team for the better part of a decade. Watch live Euro 2008 with us, and find out.
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Tags: Czech Republic
, European championships
, Euro 2008
, Petr Cech
, David Rozenhal
, Radoslav Kovac
, Tomas Rosicky
, Jan Koller
, Karel Bruckner
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