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Saturday, 17 June, 2000, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Czechs bow out with pride
Pavel Srnicek
Czech keeper Pavel Srnicek can't believe his luck
Czech coach Jozef Chovanec paid tribute to his players, despite seeing them eliminated from Euro 2000 following a second successive defeat.

The Czechs qualified for the finals with a 100 per cent record, but enjoyed precious little luck in their opening games against Holland and France.

Chovanec said: "The sorrow in my heart is deep. We've played our second match with bad luck."

He added: "We played against good opponents and I have to say that my team played well.

"I said before the tournament that our group was probably the most difficult and both our games proved that statement correct."

Karel Poborsky celebrates his goal for the Czechs
Karel Poborsky celebrates his goal for the Czechs

The Czechs were applauded from the pitch by both sets of supporters after their gallant efforts.

No pressure

Chovanec is under no pressure to quit. He lifted Czech spirits after their failure to qualify for the 1998 World Cup by steering his team to victory in all 10 qualifying matches for Euro 2000.

He said: "We take some positive aspects from the results, and I think the road we have taken for the future development is the right one."

History is on the Czechs' side for their now meaningless final Euro 2000 match against Denmark on 21 June.

In 15 matches since 1922 between Denmark and the Czech Republic or former Czechoslovakia, the Danes have never won, drawing five and losing 10.

First target

French coach Roger Lemerre: "It was a great game for us. We have reached the quarter final and that was our first target.

"The Czech team was very strong, especially in the air. It was difficult to challenge their aerial power, and I'm a great admirer of Karel Poborsky and Pavel Nedved."

Henry dazzles Czech keeper Srnicek
Henry dazzles Czech keeper Srnicek
France's preparations had been hampered when Bixente Lizarazu tweaked a hamstring in the warm-up and was replaced before the kick-off by Vincent Candela, who performed superbly.

Emmanuel Petit added to the French injury worries. He came off at half-time with a knee injury and Lemerre will wait to assess the damage.

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See also:

16 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Djorkaeff puts Czechs out
16 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Czech Republic v France clockwatch
11 Jun 00 | Holland
Holland escape with lucky win
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