Euro 2008 Live: Group A – Czech Republic
The Czech Republic will go into Euro 2008 with not very high expectations. The last world cup marked the end of a cycle for the Czech national team with the likes of Pavel Nedved and Karel Porborsky retiring from international football. Since then coach Karel Bruckner has struggled to find the adequate quality replacements. To compound this, the currently captain and playmaker, Tomas Rosicky will miss the tournament after sustaining an injury playing for his club side Arsenal in January.
The Czech Republic have a good recent record in the European Championships. They reached the semi-finals in 2004 before narrowly losing in extra-time to the eventual winners Greece.
With the absence of Tomas Rosicky confirmed, the Czech’s will have to rely heavily on their remaining senior players. Perhaps the most important player will be Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. Regarded as one of the world best goalkeepers, Cech will come into Euro 2008 after a disappointing season with Chelsea. Nonetheless, Cech’s performances have been consistent and he has not displayed any ill-effects of the serious head injury he suffered in October 2006. If the Czech Republic are to progress in Euro 2008 then he will be crucial.
Equally important for them will be the two main strikers, Jan Koller and Milan Baros. Koller has already announced his retirement after these finals and so he surely will want to make a big impact. Baros continues to flatter to deceive in his club football career. Recent spells at Lyon in France and Aston Villa and Portsmouth in England have resulted in poor displays. However, Baros seems to find his best form at international level. In the last European Championships he finished top scorer with five goals.
The Czech Republic will be hoping that he can quickly rediscover his goalscoring touch this time as well.
Tags: Czech Republic, Euro 2008, European Championships, Petr Cech