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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 17:16 UK

Czech Republic team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to the Czech Republic.

Fixtures (Group A):

Czech Republic

v Switzerland - 7 June, 1700 BST, Basle
Switzerland team guide

v Portugal - 11 June, 1700 BST, Geneva
Portugal team guide

v Turkey - 15 June, 1945 BST, Geneva
Turkey team guide

How did they get there: In rampant fashion. Along with Germany they raced away from the rest of Group D and then ensured top spot with a stunning 3-0 win over the Germans in their own back yard in Munich. Finished 12 points clear of the third-placed side.

Karel Bruckner

Manager: Karel Bruckner. The wily 68-year-old leads his country at a tournament for the final time after announcing he would step down after Euro 2008. Has been in charge since 2001 and has been widely praised for the attractive, attacking football his Czech teams like to play.

Captain: A position that is massively up for grabs after the hammer blow of captain fantastic Tomas Rosicky's withdrawal through injury. The Arsenal playmaker has for the last two years been the creative hub of the Czech side and his silky skills will be sorely missed.


Euro highlights: As Czechoslovakia, they won the 1976 European Championship by beating West Germany 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the final. As the Czech Republic, they lost to Oliver Bierhoff's golden goal in the final of Euro 96 against Germany at Wembley.

Euro legend: Pavel Nedved - he refused to come out of international retirement this time around, but how they could do with his experience. The Juventus schemer helped his side reach the final in 1996 and was named in the Uefa team of the tournament at Euro 2004 as the Czechs reached the last four.

Petr Cech

Star man: Petr Cech. On top of his game the Chelsea stopper is arguably the world's best goalkeeper and he provides a formidable last line of defence with his stunning reflexes and calm, commanding presence. Recently linked with AC Milan - for 30m.

Strengths: They have quality all over the pitch. From Cech, to defenders David Rozehnal and Marek Jankulovski, Jaroslav Plasil in midfield and Jan Koller and Milan Baros in attack. They also have a coach who is unlikely to get out-foxed.

Weaknesses: Losing captain Rosicky - the fulcrum of their side - to injury is a hammer blow. Also, Baros must put a forgettable few months on loan at Portsmouth behind him and return to the form that saw him top the scorers' charts in 2004 with five.

World ranking: 6th.

Our verdict: Should have few problems getting out of their group on paper, but a tricky opening tie against co-hosts Switzerland will need to be negotiated. They are either brilliant or disappointing with not much inbetween, so take your pick.

see also
Matejovsky named in Czech squad
14 May 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Czech Republic XI
23 May 08 |  Czech Rep
Country profile: Czech Republic
15 Feb 08 |  Country profiles

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