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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