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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 June, 2004, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Bruckner praises cool heads

Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner
Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner said his team kept their heads after minnows Latvia took a surprise lead in their Group D opener.

A major shock seemed on the cards as Maris Verpakovskis put Latvia ahead on the stroke of half time.

But Bruckner said: "We knew there was a second half to play so there was no panic - there was time.

"The second half of the first half wasn't what we wanted. We were more aggressive in the second half."

A relieved Bruckner said: "We did not expect an easy match but to be frank it was more difficult than I expected.

"Latvia had a very good defence and I would even characterise them as playing with military discipline.

This game showed we can compete with the top sides
Latvia coach Aleksandrs Starkovs

"They were very brave and have proved they are a good team.

"I suppose we played better in the second half - more in our usual style."

Bruckner was able to report a clean bill of health for his players after a match played in sweltering heat.

Although it was fiercely contested the game finished without a single caution.

The Czech coach said: "There are no serious injuries but some light knocks but they should all be all right tomorrow."

Bruckner admitted he got worried when his team were unable to score until Baros levelled on 73 minutes.

"I did not enjoy this feeling," said Bruckner. "Let's just say I was coaching more than I usually have to coach.

"I can feel the effect it has taken on my body but I am very satisfied and very relieved."

Links to more Czech Rep stories



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