2008 Czech Republic Euro Soccer Preview
by Doc's Sports - 04/17/2008
Soaring to No. 6 in the current April FIFA world rankings, this summer is the perfect opportunity for the Czech Republic to make a name for itself as one of the strongest soccer countries in the world. The Czechs suffered a very disappointing result in the 2006 World Cup. They failed to advance to the elimination round, as sleeper Ghana defeated them head-to-head in group play and moved forward with eventual-champion Italy.
In the 2004 European Championship, they earned a successful semi-final appearance. They'll look to improve off this effort this summer, thanks to a very impressive qualifying campaign. They posted 29 points with a 9-2-1 record that moved prohibited favorite Germany to second in the table.
The biggest question for this team forms around the injury to captain Tomas Rosicky and possibly his absence from this tournament. Originally sidelined for over two months, his fitness race will be tracked in detail as the summer approaches. Nicknamed 'the Little Mozart' for his tactical attacking skills in the midfield, the loss of Rosicky would be huge and quite possibly too much to overcome knowing the quality of opponents they'll be facing in this event.
Golden Player Watch - Jan Koller, F
When you think of attacking for the Czech Republic, it's quite clear Jan Koller is at the top of the list. Physically overbearing at over 6'7'', this striker is the all-time leading scorer for his national team with 52 goals in 85 caps.
I still can vividly remember his opening goal for the Czechs vs. the United States in their first round matchup in the 2006 World Cup. Racing down the penalty box, his menacing header smashed through the net and completely thwarted the U.S. within minutes of the match starting. His size and strength make him a very tough cover, but just the same his ball skills has him as one of the finest attackers we'll see this summer.
Reason Why They Will Advance to Elimination Round
A very strong team, Czech Republic will be favored to advance in its respective group this summer in Euro 2008. No doubt the potential loss of Rosicky could make things tricky and open doors for another team to slide in and advance, however you'd be remised if you turn your back to them too soon. And on top of that, if world-class and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech gets back to top form as he was several summers ago for the World Cup, things will be even brighter for this football nation.
Group Play Schedule
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland - June 6
Czech Republic vs. Portugal - June 11
Czech Republic vs. Turkey - June 15