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Monday, May 26, 2008

Euro 2008: Czech Republic Preliminary Squad

EURO 2008 gets underway from 7 June 2008. After FIFA World Cup, ERUO is considered to be the most popular and highlighted football tournaments across the world. EURO 2008 will be organized jointly in Austria and Switzerland. This the second time, the most popular European football tournament is going to be hosted by two countries, after EURO 2000 being held jointly by Belgium and Netherlands.

There will be 16 teams in the competition, and except Austria and Switzerland, who automatically qualified for the tournament, all other 14 teams have gone through the qualifying round to reach the final of EURO 2008. The participating teams will be divided into four groups of four teams in the group stage. Two teams from each group will make it to the quarter final of EURO 2008. From the quarter final stage, the tournament will follow knock out system.

Here, in this blog we will be reviewing the squads of all the 16 participating teams of EURO 2008 before the tournament kicks off. In this post, I am going to review the squad of Czech Republic:

Czech Republic may not be a football power in the world, but in Europe, they are considered as one of the good sides. Czech Republic’s performance in the recent EURO tournaments is excellent. Czech Republic started emerging as a high profile side in Europe since they reached the final of 1996 EURO competition where they were beaten by. However, they failed to impress four years later in EURO 2000, but again they bounced back in EURO 2004 reaching the semi final of the tournament. However, their performance in FIFA World Cup is not up to the mark as they could not even get into the second round of 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Czech Republic is placed in Group A of EURO 2008 along with host Switzerland, Portugal and Turkey. So, it is, for sure, that this would not be easy for Czech Republic to become one of the two teams to enter into the quarter final from Group A. With Portugal being the most favorite in the group, it seems that Turkey would be the main competitor of Czech Republic for the second place in the group. Well, you should not forget that Czech Republic was the champion of Group D in EURO 2008 qualifying round, leaving European giant Germany in the second place. So, you can not say that last tournament’s beaten finalist Portugal is guaranteed the top place in Group A. Moreover, Switzerland will try their best to get into the next round as they have home advantage in the tournament. So, it seems that Czech Republic will have to play their best to secure a place in the quarter final. Now, let us have a look at the 23-man squad of Czech Republic for the tournament.

If you are a fan of Czech Republic, then it is definitely bad news for you to know that Czech Republic will be without their regular captain Tomas Rosicky, who underwent a surgery to his knee recently. The side will also miss their star player Pavel Nedved, who failed to impress Coach Karel Brueckner to make it to the 23-men primary squad. Last but not the least; Czech Republic midfielder Daniel Pudil has been out of the tournament being fallen in an injury, even though he was able to win a place in the 23-men squad. Karel Brueckner has called Rudolf Skacel to replace Daniel Pudil in the primary squad. The final squad will be announced on May 28. Here, I am giving the list of the 23-men primary squad of Czech Republic for EURO 2008 from socceramerica website:

Goalkeepers: Jaromir Blazek (Nuremberg, Germany), Petr Cech (Chelsea, England), Daniel Zitka (Anderlecht, Belgium).
Defenders: Zdenek Grygera (Juventus, Italy), Marek Jankulovski (AC Milan, Italy), Michal Kadlec (Sparta Prague), Tomas Sivok (Sparta Prague), Radoslav Kovac (Spartak Moscow), Zdenek Pospech (FC Copenhagen, Denmark), David Rozehnal (Lazio, Italy), Tomas Ujfalusi (Fiorentina, Italy)
Midfielders: Tomas Galasek (Nuremberg, Germany), David Jarolim (Hamburg, Germany), Marek Matejovsky (Reading, England), Jaroslav Plasil (Osasuna, Spain), Jan Polak (Anderlecht, Belgium), Rudolf Skacel (Hertha BSC Berlin on loan from Southampton), Libor Sionko (FC Copenhagen, Denmark), Stanislav Vlcek (Anderlecht, Belgium).
Strikers: Milan Baros (Portsmouth, England), Martin Fenin (Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany), Jan Koller (Nuremberg, Germany), Vaclav Sverkos (Banik Ostrava).

The only new face in primary squad is Banik Ostrava striker Vaclav Sverkos. There are some high profile footballers in the squad, despite the absent of Rosicky and Nedved. Goal keeper Petr Cech is experienced and could be impressive in the goal. Newcastle United defender David Rozehnal, midfielder Marek Matejovsky (Reading) are very successful in their club career. If you are an avid fan of football, then you may not need any introduction for striker Milan Baros, who is currently playing for Portsmouth on loan from Olympique Lyonnais. The former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker is going to lead Czech Republic attack in the tournament. Fellow striker Martin Fenin is very talented and has all the quality to watch out during the tournament. Though he has not got his first goal for Czech Republic, the 21-year old could get it at the big stage of EURO 2008.

Czech Republic is going to play a friendly match against Lithuania at home before coach Brueckner declares the final squad. Now, let us see who will be in the final squad of Czech Republic for EURO 2008. Let’s wait and see who are going to impress Coach Karel Brueckner.

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