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Bouncing Czechs June 13, 2006

Posted by Aniket in Aniket, Football WC.

Before the world cup began, the whole world was busy putting together a list of teams who might be able to win the trophy. The likes of Brazil, Argentina, Italy, France & England were on all such lists. But after today's match against the USA, another team deserves to be added to this list – the Czech Republic.
    They proved in today's 3-0 thrashing of the yanks that they are a force to reckon with. Such was their dominance of the game that the yanks never looked like scoring whereas the Czechs seemed like scoring from every attack they made. They made accurate passes, great interceptions & ran the yanks ragged. And remember, this is the same US team that had reached thge quarters in 2002, beating Portugal on their way. But today, the Czechs made them look like a bunch of bumbling amateurs.
    Though this shouldn't come as much of a surprise to most football fans. The Czechs were by far the best team on display at Euro 2004 and with their attacking football were favourites to win after teams like France, England & Italy had been knocked out. It took a very obdurate Greek defence to finally deny the Czechs a victory in the semis. The team seems to have moved on since then and under the guidance of Karol Bruckner seemed to have improved during the last two years. The team thrives on their sharp passes & quick counterattacks which often leave even the very best defences stunned. The team also has a fine balance of youth & experience with experienced players like Jan Koller, Karol Poborsky & Pavel Nedved playing alongside youngsters like Petr Cech & Milan Baros, most of whom were an integral part of the Under-19 European Championship winning side in 2001.  And in Tomas Rosicky, who has signed a contract with Arsenal, they have found a player who can well be amongst the stars of the world cup. He scored two goals against the yanks and that might well have been three had his long range effort, an old speciality of his, gone into the goal rather than strike the crossbar. He is surely the player to watch out for.
    But the Czechs do have their worries. Milan Baros is not fully fit as yet and Jan Koller limped off with a hamstring problem during today's match which might mean that his world cup is over. This would severely damage the team's attack & put more responsiblity on the midfield duo of Nedved & Rosicky. Also, the defence seemed pretty good against the yanks but whether it can face the onslaught of teams like Brazil remains to be seen.
    Despite all that, after today's match, the Czechs have made the whole world stand up & take notice of their talented side. Theirs was by far the best performance by any team in the World Cup till date. This teams looks like it can at least reach the semis. And after that , who knows?



1. ramanand - June 13, 2006

Yup – they were my #1 team for the tournament and the progress was wonderful to watch. The only questions are fitness and whether if they know how to win in a big tournament. Euro ’04 was a setback, but let’s see. Missing Smicer as well, but hopefully Koller will come back. Too many yellow cards though – hopefully will be lost in the next phase.

2. Bharat Maheshwari - June 13, 2006

I find it rather strange that Czech have been thought of as underdogs for the tournament. Anyone who has followed the international scene will agree that they have been progressing rapidly as one of the top nations in Europe for quite some time now.
They have this so called “golden generation” consisting of Nedved, Poborsky, etc. who if you remember reached the final of Euro’96. They have been playing together for a long time and have a very good coach in Karel Bruckner. He was previously their under-21 coach and has helped in development of most of their players. Another thing about them is that they have a very balanced side with perfect blend of good youngsters and experienced players.

3. Abhishek - June 14, 2006

“my #1 team for the tournament ” – i would not go that far, the truth is the US are over-rated, esp now with a mediocre squad. their part of the world is not the hardest to qualify from and they sometimes lack a reality czeck(pun intended) against tougher opposition. sticking m neck out here, the Czecks are definitely not getting to the semis. You have soemthing now to take my case if they get there!

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