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Rosicky braced for Scots' aggression in pivotal clash

Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky believes his team will emerge victorious at Hampden Park today if they can match Scotland's aggression.

Rosicky knows Scotland will be more ambitious today than their previous meeting when Craig Levein's 4-6-0 formation failed to trouble the Czechs in a 1-0 defeat in Prague.

But the Arsenal midfielder remains confident that his side's talent can shine through in the Euro 2012 qualifier.

The visitors go into the Group I contest five points ahead of Scotland in second place, although Levein's men have a game in hand.

Speaking at Hampden yesterday, Rosicky said: "I expect a more attacking approach. We know it will be an aggressive game. It will be a good pace because the stakes are high.

"Like the game last year, if we match the aggression we will be successful. That's the main point -- we expect the Scottish team to be aggressive and close us down."

Rosicky chose a familiar foe when asked to name Scotland's most impressive player -- his Arsenal team suffered defeat when Charlie Adam made his Liverpool debut on the opening day of the Premier League season.

"At this point I think the most dangerous and improved player is Charlie Adam," Rosicky said.

"He is good on the ball and has good vision. Obviously he is the one who spreads the ball but other players can be dangerous as well. That won't be our main focus, just to stop him."

Rosicky admitted it was fair to say he was relishing a different platform after Arsenal's poor start to the season, which continued with an 8-2 defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

But Rosicky, who has scored 20 goals in 81 games for his country, added: "I don't feel I have something to prove personally.

"Of course I'm the leader of the team, I know I have the biggest responsibility and I'm not hiding away from it."

And the 30-year-old dismissed suggestions from a Czech reporter that the sell-out Hampden atmosphere could prove intimidating.

Rosicky, who played in a 1-0 friendly defeat at Hampden in March last year, said: "When we played in Prague, it was flooded with Scotland supporters so it will be familiar, so no worries there."

Although the Czechs sit five points above Scotland, their other two wins have come against Liechtenstein and a home defeat by Lithuania saw them start their campaign badly.

Manager Michal Bilek admits his team are under pressure to improve on their 3-0 friendly defeat by Norway last month.


Bilek is also without three key players through injury: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, CSKA Moscow forward Tomas Necid and Wolfsburg midfielder Jan Polak.

Bilek said: "The pressure is on both sides, but after the mishap in Norway the supporters are disappointed and I expect some improvement.

"The stakes are very high, both will be going for the maximum. I would be quite happy if we got a point from this match but I believe we will both put the maximum effort into getting a win."

Unlike Levein, Bilek refused to name his team on the eve of the match, although he has told most of his players if they are playing.

His biggest decision appears to be who replaces Cech, with just four caps between the other 'keepers in his squad.

All of those caps belong to Hamburg goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny, although Jan Lastuvka of Dnipro is also in Bilek's thoughts.

"I still believe the goalkeepers we have got are experienced," the Czech manager said.

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Irish Independent