Czechs aim to show quality
Saturday 07 June 2008
The Czech Republic captain Tomas Ujfalusi is confident his team's class of 2008 have enough quality to make a serious impact at this year's European Championship despite the absence of some key players.
The likes of retired duo Pavel Nedved and Vladimir Smicer and the injured current skipper Tomas Rosicky are not in the squad for this year's competition.
But ahead of the tournament curtain-raiser against co-hosts Switzerland in Basle today, Ujfalusi said that he believes the current breed can make their country proud. "In 2004, we played football of the highest level but we didn't make it to the final," said the rugged centre-back, who was part of the Czech team which lost 1-0 to the eventual winners Greece in the semi-final four years ago.
"Some people have finished playing since then, great players. It was difficult for the coach to find adequate replacements but we coped. I guess we will only be able to assess this when the Championships are over. We will see."
The Czechs are considered dark horses this time round and are expected to be battling it out with the Swiss and Greece for second place in Group A, behind Portugal.
Karel Bruckner, whose six-and-a-half-year tenure as Czech coach will come to an end after the tournament, will be without Zdenek Pospech (flu) against Switzerland.
The Swiss Football Association has prepared a contingency plan in the unlikely event the head coach Köbi Kuhn is forced to quit the team. The 64-year-old has been visiting his wife in hospital daily since she suffered a serious epileptic fit on Monday.
Latest in Sport
Australian Open 2015: Serena Williams vs Dominika Cibulkova match preview
Chelsea vs Liverpool match report: Branislav Ivanovic seals classic encounter with extra-time header to send Blues to Wembley
Chelsea transfer news and rumours: Juan Cuadrado battle; Douglas Costa wants move; Paul Pogba possible
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Does the path to true love really lie in these 36 questions?
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
- 5 Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years