The news that the Czech Republic got off to a winning start at Euro 2008, beating the co-hosts Switzerland 1:0 in the opening game on Saturday evening. But while three points in the bag represented an ideal beginning, the Czech team’s performance, particularly going forward, left a great deal to be desired. The only goal of the game – smoothly taken by substitute Václav Svěrkoš – came from the Czech Republic’s only shot on target in the whole 90 minutes, and the man Svěrkoš replaced, Jan Koller, had been wholly ineffective up front on his own.
Here’s what star goalkeeper Petr Čech made of the game:
“Switzerland played really well, they created some chances and especially in the second half we made some mistakes, we lost the ball quite easily – that’s why we put ourselves under pressure and that’s why they had some chances. But I think overall we stayed compact and organised. We played well defensively and the fact that we played as a team was a great sign.”
The Czech Republic’s next opponents are Portugal and Karel Bruckner’s men will surely need more than luck to overcome Ronaldo and Co. Petr Čech:
“Of course it’s a difficult game, because I think Portugal is the favourite in the group. They have great players and a manager who won the World Cup. We have good players, a good team with a lot of experience as well. We know it’s going to be difficult but we’re confident we can play anybody.”
That match is on Wednesday, and the Czech Republic’s final Group A game is next Sunday, against Turkey.
The Czech ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hašek could be about to call it a day. Hašek, who is 43, recently won the Stanley Cup for the second time with Detroit, though he spent much of the season on the bench. A Canadian TV station said the Dominator, who led the Czechs to Olympic gold in 1998, was planning to announce his retirement on Monday.
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