Monday, May 26, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Czech Republic Team Preview

With less than two weeks to go until Euro 2008, it's time to take a look at the 16 competing nations. We begin in Group A, which features the Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.

The squad: The Czechs topped Germany in qualifying Group D, posting a 3-0 win in Munich to secure their berth. At the 2006 World Cup, the Czechs failed to advance from the group stages, losing their final two matches. They have made the semifinals at two of the last three Euros, falling to Greece in extra time in the 2004 semis.

The players: The loss of Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky to injury is a major blow to the Czech's hopes. Without their captain, the squad will be more reliant on striker Jan Koller, their all-time leading scorer. The Czechs could use a return to form from striker Milan Barros, whose best days on the international stage came at Euro 2004. Chelsea goaltender Petr Cech anchors the defense.

The schedule: vs. Switzerland (6/7); vs. Portugal (6/11); vs. Turkey (6/15)

The prediction: The Czechs edge out Switzerland for second place in Group A before falling to Germany in the quarterfinals.

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