Brückner's revenge for Wembley 96 revenge

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The Independent Online

Newspapers in the Czech Republic yesterday carried jubilant headlines and photos of fans chanting "Auf wiedersehen!" in the streets of Prague as they celebrated victory over Germany at Euro 2004 on Wednesday.

Newspapers in the Czech Republic yesterday carried jubilant headlines and photos of fans chanting "Auf wiedersehen!" in the streets of Prague as they celebrated victory over Germany at Euro 2004 on Wednesday.

"A sensational victory," the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes said, marking the team's first win over Germany in 28 years. "Czechs are simply wonderful," proclaimed the Prague-based newspaper Vecernik Praha.

"The Germans had no power to reverse the score and there's simply no place for them in the quarter-finals," wrote Miroslav Kadlec in the sport daily Sportovci. Kadlec captained the Czech team which lost 2-1 to Germany in the final of Euro 1996 at Wembley.

That win gave Germany their third European title. The two teams also met in the final of the 1976 European Championship, when Czechoslovakia won in a penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in extra time.

"I don't remember that victory," said the businessman Petr Zajkl. "I was only a one-year-old child then. All the other teams which have remained in the tournament are good, but we can win the championship."

Vaclav Karas, 56, added: "It's a great feeling to beat the Germans. They've been bugging us for years. It was a fantastic game and, above all, we beat them without our major stars."

In Lisbon, a satisfied Czech coach, Karel Brückner, said his squad had proved their strength in depth after making nine changes to the team that beat the Netherlands.

"Tonight was good work," he said after the game. "But I was irritated before the game when I read that we were fielding a B team. We do not have a B team - or an A team. All our players are part of the same team."

The Czech coach added that he had given little thought to Denmark, their opponents in the quarter-finals. "I'm not such a workaholic to be concentrating already on our next match," he said.

Brückner noted that wholesale changes were made because various players had slight injuries and needed resting.

Before the game, Brückner made it clear he intended to make use of the chance to give his senior men a break as the Czechs had already won the group. Asked about the younger players given a chance in this match, he said: "They showed they can do it and they showed their pride in their work."

The Czech forward Marek Heinz, who scored the equaliser after 30 minutes with a swerving free-kick from 30 yards, was voted Man of the Match. He said: "This was good for all of us and it showed we have 23 very good players and a good style. We can play against anybody. It's a very good result for the spirit of the team."

Milan Baros, who scored the winner after coming on as a substitute, added: "We don't care who we play because we feel very happy together and we have a system we like. We want to go well but we're just taking each game as it comes now."

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