Tag: Czech Republic

Euro 2012 – The Runners & Riders: The Czech Republic

One could forgive the Czech Republic for being a little circumspect in their preparations for the 2012 European Championships. Having failed to qualify for the World Cup finals again two years ago – they’ve only qualified for one World Cup finals since the division of the Czechoslovakia’s national football team split into two early in 1994 – their qualification for this European Championships was modest and unspectacular. They scored only twelve goals in their eight qualifying matches, of which they lost three including a home defeat in their opening match against Lithuania. With Spain winning the group by an almost inhumane eleven points, the Czech Republic squeezed through to the finals with a comfortable win against Montenegro. The History: The Czech Republic national team came into being with its first international match, a friendly match in Turkey played in February of 1994. Prior to this, the Czechoslovakian national team had a moderate record that was punctuated most significantly in 1976, when they won the European Championships on penalty kicks against West Germany in Belgrade. Since the formation of the Czech Republic team, the contrasts of the team’s fortunes between the European Championships and the World Cup could not be more stark. The team has only qualified for one out of four World Cup finals since first entering the tournament for the 1998 competition, but in contrast to this the...

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Czechs Bounced Etc

Slowly but surely, the records are being broken. It feels as if, one by one, new legends are being created on an almost daily basis at Euro 2008, and last night we had a new one to add to the list: the greatest comeback by an international team in the finals of a competition. To be honest about it all, the first seventy-five minutes of last night’s match between Turkey and the Czech Republic were fairly ordinary. The Czechs had gone two goals up through a factory-fit header from Jan Koller in the first half and an acrobatic slide-cum-stab from Plasil just after the hour mark. So far, so good. Apart from that, it was so-so, with both teams limited to a couple of long range efforts and almost accidental looking shots at goal each. With fifteen minutes to play, though, Turkey ripped the script up and threw it away, replacing it with one that the writers of “Escape To Victory” would have replaced for being too far fetched. First up, Turan popped up with a shot from the edge of the area that beat Petr Cech at his near post. It’s possible to absolve Cech of any blame for this goal, a well-hit low shot from the edge of the penalty area that skidded on very wet grass. There were less forgiving circumstances seven minutes later, though. Hamit’s...

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Portugal 3-1 Czech Republic

It is a curious anomaly of Euro 2008 that this evening’s match between Portugal and the Czech Republic saw, in the tournament’s ninth match, the first equalizing goal of the competition. It counted for nothing in the end, but it did at least breathe life into a match that, prior to this, had started to look as if it would be little more than a procession for Portugal, who further reinstated their case for being amongst the favourites to win the trophy outright. Both sides won their opening matches – Portugal at a canter against Turkey, the Czechs with considerable labour and no small amount of luck against Switzerland – so the only result that would beyond doubt would be that the winners would be through to the quarter-finals (barring something just shy of a miracle). Portugal started the stronger of the two sides, and it took them just eight minutes to take the lead. For all of his artistry and jiggery pokery, it’s difficult to fault the sheer persistence of Deco, who bundled the ball over the line with Cech scrambling to get across the goal to smother it. The Czechs, however, were showing signs of being able to make a real game of it, and with Sionko looking very impressive on the wing, it was no surprise when they equalised through Sionko’s diving header. For a while,...

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Switzerland 0-1 Czech Republic

A lot of bluster, and not much of an end result. This is the only conclusion that one can rationally draw from Switzerland’s performance this afternoon, both in the opening ceremony and in the match itself. For their opponents the Czechs, this afternoon’s match must feel like something half-way between a job well done and a smash and grab raid. First up, though, the opening ceremony. This consisted of about sixty-four or so people holding plastic cubes, which changed colour according to which colour was facing upwards. To say that it didn’t work would be something of an understatement. The group of people seemed unable to stay in formation, meaning that, rather looking like that famous British Airways advert from the 1980s (as I expect the intention was), it looked like a giant game of Scrabble that had gone angrily awry. Into this mix, people on those springy stilts that you occasionally see people wearing at the circus. One of them was pretending to be a skier. Four of them were holding up a cow and moving it’s legs. You know the sort of thing. Once the nonsense was over and done with and the actual match started, it was Switzerland that looked the more impressive of the two teams. The Czechs looked strangely doughy, although they were certainly more incisive than the Swiss, who looked impressive until they...

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Euro 2008 – Group A

It’s that time again. The closing date for the squad lists to be submitted to UEFA for Euro 2008 is the 28th of May, but we already know enough about who will be there and who won’t to be able to start having a look at the groups for the finals of this year’s European Championships. This year’s finals haven’t been without controversy already, with numerous complaints about the seeding of the competition. The four seeds are Switzerland, Austria, Greece and the Netherlands, with Switzerland and Austria being seeded as the hosts, Greece earning their place as the holders and the Netherlands, on the basis of UEFA’s hilariously complicated co-efficient system that calculated the average number of points obtained in qualifying and in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. This idiosyncratic way of doing things has, of course, thrown up a “Group Of Death” (Group C, which features the Netherlands, Italy and France), but has also done a couple of the other “bigger” nations a favour. Anyway, first up, here’s a look at Group A. Switzerland – What Are Expectations Like? Well, not as low as they are for their co-hosts, Austria. Switzerland have had a reasonably favourable draw and have got half a chance of getting through the group stages, though there won’t be too many people staring in disbelief if they do get through. Their key match...

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