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Switzerland 0-1 Czech Republic



By Ian Hughes

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Substitute Vaclav Sverkos scored the winning goal for the Czech Republic

Substitute Vaclav Sverkos gave the Czech Republic a winning start to Euro 2008 with a second-half strike that broke Switzerland's resistance.

Alexander Frei was twice denied by Petr Cech before the Swiss captain was forced off injured and Hakan Yakin headed a chance wide after the break.

On 70 minutes Sverkos slotted in a low volley from 12 yards after latching on to a ball over the top of the defence.

The Swiss were denied an equaliser when Johan Vonlanthen's volley hit the bar.

And it might prove that the width of the woodwork could be the end of the Swiss, with tough matches against Portugal and Turkey to come in Group A.

Realistically, the tournament's co-hosts needed to get something out of their opening game and they started as though they were absolutely determined to.

After three minutes, the Czechs gave the ball away cheaply in midfield but Frei dragged his shot wide and failed to capitalise.

Vaclav Sverkos
Sverkos scored the first goal of the tournament to beat Switzerland

That should have been a wake-up call to the Czechs but they appeared in no rush to raise their tempo.

As a result, Switzerland - unfancied in the group - grew in confidence and stroked the ball around but with little cutting edge.

A weak effort from Gokhan Inler was indicative of their toothless attacks until that point.

Frei, though, looked the liveliest player on the pitch and, despite having no help from his struggling strike partner Marco Streller, he began to cause some problems.

It took a decent stop from Cech to deny him the opening goal of Euro 2008 after he had latched on to a long clearance from his own keeper.

Frei followed that up with a 30-yard shot that Cech opted to use his fists to clear, despite there being little sign of the any movement from ball.

Sadly for Frei it would prove to be virtually his last contribution to the match as he later hobbled off after a jarring challenge.

Petr Cech admits the Czech Republic had some luck against Switzerland

The Czech Republic had already started showing signs of waking from the slumber before then and, with crisp passing and better movement, were dictating the play.

But their final ball was awful and up front, giant striker Jan Koller looked slow and cumbersome.

After the break the Swiss brought on Hakan Yakin for the injured Frei and they started the half positively.

As the Czechs found themselves pinned back, Yakin got himself into the action but was too high with an effort following a free-kick.

But it was clear Yakin was already having more of an impact than Koller and it was no surprise when the Czech Republic's top scorer was replaced by Sverkos.

606: DEBATE

And the Swiss substitute should have opened the scoring when he was presented with a free header but he directed the ball wide the right-hand post.

It was to prove a costly miss when, on 70 minutes, Sverkos finished smartly into the bottom corner after latching on to a ball over the top of the Swiss defence.

Yet Switzerland almost snatched a draw when Tranquillo Barnetta's shot was superbly parried by Cech and Vonlanthen smashed the follow-up against the woodwork.


Switzerland: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner (Vonlanthen 75), Muller, Senderos, Magnin, Behrami (Derdiyok 83), Inler, Gelson, Barnetta, Frei (Yakin 46), Streller.
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Jakupovic, Djourou, Huggel, Cabanas, Grichting, Gygax, Spycher, Degen.

Booked: Magnin, Vonlanthen, Barnetta.

Czech Republic: Cech, Jankulovski, Rozehnal, Ujfalusi, Grygera, Plasil, Polak, Galasek, Jarolim (Kovac 87), Sionko (Vlcek 83), Koller (Sverkos 56).
Subs Not Used: Blazek, Zitka, Fenin, Pospech, Kadlec, Baros, Matejovsky, Sivok, Skacel.

Goals: Sverkos 70.

Att: 41,000

Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).

TRIVIA

The Czech Republic deployed their oldest starting line-up in this competition. At 29 years and 298 days, their line-up beats the previous oldest starting eleven from 1980 by more than a year.

At 25 years and 193 days, Switzerland fielded their youngest ever starting line-up in a European Championship match. Their former record dated back to the Euro 96 match against Holland.

The defeat means that Switzerland remain winless after seven matches at European Championships, the longest current run of that kind in the competition. It also marks the fourth defeat of a host nation in the opening match of a European Championship following 1960, 1972 and 2004.

Jan Koller and Marek Jankulovski equalled the Czech record for most European Championship participations (three), a mark that had previously been recorded by Vladimir Smicer, Karel Poborsky and Pavel Nedved.

Karel Bruckner led his side to the 50th victory in his 74-match reign as Czech national team boss.

Trivia stats source: Infostrada Sports




Group A
16 June 2008 09:44
    P GD PTS
1 Portugal 3 2 6
2 Turkey 3 0 6
3 Czech Republic 3 -2 3
4 Switzerland 3 0 3

see also
Euro 2008 day one as it happened
07 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Czechs were below par - Bruckner
07 Jun 08 |  Czech Rep
Swiss hit by Frei injury concern
07 Jun 08 |  Switzerland
Switzerland team guide
15 May 08 |  Switzerland
Czech Republic team guide
15 May 08 |  Czech Rep
Switzerland v Czech Rep photos
07 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008


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