Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know about Czech Republic
Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on the Czech Republic.
Group D fixtures:
- June 12th: Spain in Paris
- June 17th: Croatia in Saint-Etienne
- June 21st: Turkey in Lens
COACH: Pavel Vrba
After a modest playing career, this 52-year-old tactician boasts a fine track record on the touchline and it was no surprise that he eventually landed the role as Czech Republic boss.
With domestic title wins in Slovakia with Zilina and with Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic, he was a strong contender to take over as national team coach in January 2014 and led his nation to a comfortable Euro 2016 qualification in a group featuring a fading Holland.
STAR MAN: Petr Cech (Arsenal)
The Czech’s may be lacking quality in some areas of their squad, but they have one of the world’s best keepers to cover up some of their deficiencies.
Cech heads into Euro 2016 with a solid first season at Arsenal behind him, with his desire to leave Chelsea last summer fuelled by an eagerness to hand on to his place in the Czech line-up this summer.
LOOK OUT FOR: Borek Dockal (Sparta Prague)
The absence of the always injured Tomas Rosicky leaves a hole in the Czech Republic line-up that needs to be filled and this free-scoring midfielder is likely be handed a key role in the Euro 2016 set-up.
Dockal fired four goals in his nation’s qualifying campaign and is likely to play behind lead striker Tomas Necid with a license to break forward at the right moment. His goals could be crucial to the Czech’s this summer.
WILD CARD: Tomas Necid (Bursaspor)
A powerhouse forward who has burst into scoring form of late as he recovered from a knee injury that was stunting his progress, Necid will take up the central striking role in the Czech Republic’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
Previously with CSKA Moscow, among others, his international career took time to lift off, but Euro 2016 could be his big chance to make a mark.
VERDICT: Plenty of the Czech Republic squad ply their trade in their domestic championship and that is a sign that top overseas clubs do no consider this crop of Czech stars to be worthy of big money transfers.
With Spain almost certain to progress from Group D, it will come down to a battle between Turkey and Croatia to make it through to the next round and the Czech’s are not favourites to win that race.