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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Koller closes in on Czech return
Jan Koller in training at Borussia Dortmund
Koller returned to training in March
Striker Jan Koller is confident he will be fit in time for Czech Republic's opening World Cup game against USA.

The 6'7" Borussia Dortmund player tore ligaments in his left knee during a Bundesliga match in September.

He said: "I have no more problems with the knee. The only problem for me is to return and be able to playb at 100%."

Koller, 33, is key to his country's hopes having scored 40 goals in 66 internationals - including nine in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

He spent four months in a German rehabilitation centre, working up to eight hours a day.

"It paid off," he added. "The World Cup was a driving force and I think I'll be available if there are no complications.

"I still have a month to work on it."

Koller's confidence will come as a boost to coach Karel Bruckner who has concerns over the chances of three other players.

Bordeaux's former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer, Ajax defender Zdenek Grygera and striker Vratislav Lokvenc of Salzburg are all struggling with injuries.

The Czech Republic, ranked number two in the world, open their campaign against the USA on 12 June and will then face Ghana and Italy.

SEE ALSO
Czech Republic team guide
27 Apr 06 |  Czech Republic
World Cup fixtures
09 Dec 05 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage


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