Football: Uhrin ready to subtract three from six

Czech Rep v Germany Tomorrow, Old Trafford 5.0pm
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Dusan Uhrin, the Czech Republic coach, kept his squad guessing yesterday when he said that three positions still had to filled for tomorrow's opening Group C match against Germany at Old Trafford.

Uhrin named six players in contention for the vacancies - Michal Hornak or Vaclav Nemecek in defence, Martin Frydek or Patrik Berger in midfield and Karel Poborsky or Radek Drulak in attack.

With his first-choice goalkeeper, Petr Kouba, definitely fit after sitting out Thursday's warm-up match against the Lancashire non-League club Bamber Bridge, which the Czechs won 9-1, Uhrin knows the rest of his line-up. However, he admitted that his selection might be influenced if he hears who is playing for Germany before the Czechs' final training session tomorrow, after which he will announce his side.

It will be a major surprise if Berger does not play. The Borussia Dortmund man was the leading Czech scorer in the qualifiers with six goals in eight games, he is also one of five players in the squad who play in the Bundesliga and is therefore well aware of Germany's strengths and weaknesses.

The Czech striker, Pavel Kuka, of Kaiserslautern, expects to be marked by Berger's Borussia Dortmund club-mate Jurgen Kohler, of whom he said: "He's one of the best defenders in the world."

Germany's problems are mounting but they have had poor build-ups to tournaments before and it has not always weakened them once the event starts. Their latest problem is an ankle injury to midfielder Mario Basler, but he could yet be replaced if does not show signs of recovery.

Basler, an unpredictable player, was not an automatic choice, but Germany's coach, Berti Vogts, knows that he will have to make do without Jurgen Klinsmann's striking power and cannot call on Steffen Freund to fortify his midfield as both are suspended for the opening game.

The attacking burden in Klinsmann's absence is likely to fall upon Fredi Bobic and Stefan Kuntz.