Euro 2016 Group D

Czech Republic

13 June - Spain (2pm GMT, Stadium Municipal, Toulouse)
17 June - Croatia (5pm GMT, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne)
21 June - Turkey (8pm GMT, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)

The Czech Republic aim to build on their impressive record at the European Championships. Gaby McKay assesses their chances.

Nároďák on the attack

The Czechs have an impressive record at the European Championships. Having won the tournament as Czechoslovakia in 1976 with Antonin Panenka’s famous penalty, the Czechs reached the final in 1996 and the semi-final in 2004. While not the ‘Golden Generation’ of Pavel Nedvěd, Tomas Rosický and Patrik Berger, there is an emerging young core of talent in this side.

Coach: Pavel Vrba — Handed the job in 2014 after two League titles with Viktoria Plzeň, he also won the League in neighbouring Slovakia with Žilina.

Preferred XI: Cech; Kadeřábek, Suchy, Kadlec, Limbersky;  Plašil, Darida; Dočkal, Rosický, Krejčí; Lafata.

While it’s not clear if playmaker Rosický will be fit in time for the tournament, the Czechs have some exciting youngsters such as Ladislav Krejčí, Václav Černý and Jakub Brabec.

Look out for: Vrba’s attacking approach. The Czechs haven’t kept a clean sheet since the Coach took over, despite boasting Petr Cech in goal. However, they scored 19 goals in 10 qualifiers to top Group A.

Did You Know?

  • Petr Cech needs just one appearance in France to surpass Karel Poborsky as the Czech Republic’s most-capped player.
  • This will be the third European Championship played in a year ending in six. Czechoslovakia won in 1976, and the Czech Republic were beaten finalists in 1996.
  • Since splitting from Slovakia, the Czech Republic have never failed to qualify for the Euros.

The Czech Republic versus…

…Spain P 4 W 0 D 1 L 3 F 1 A 5
…Croatia P 2 W 0 D 1 L 1 F 3 A 5
…Turkey P 9 W 5 D 1 L 3 F 20 A 11

Stats

Population: 10.5m
Nickname: Nároďák
Calcio fans might remember… Pavel Nedvěd - Lazio (1996-2001) Juventus (2001-2009)
Top Division: Synot Liga
FIFA World Ranking: 29
International honours: European Championship (1976, as Czechoslovakia)
Most capped player: Karel Poborsky, Petr Cech (118)
Leading international scorer: Jan Koller (55)
Czech Republic at the European Championships:

1996 - Runners-up
2000 - Group stage
2004 - Semi-final
2008 - Group stage
2012 - Quarter-final

How they got to Euro 2016: Topped qualifying Group A ahead of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands.