Czech Republic

Posted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The Czech Republic will be squeezing every ounce of talent from the last of their current golden generation.

Football Profile

Coach: Karel Bruckner (68) Veteran coach on his last lap before retirement and last chance to bring success from the Czech Republic’s current golden generation.

Away From The Game

Capital: Prague

Population: 10.3m

Currency: Czech Koruna

Language(s): Czech and Slovak.

Famous Export: Martina Navratilova (Wimbledon tennis champion), Milos Forman (Oscar winning film director).

National Food: Dumplings but main meals in the Czech Republic usually consist of beef or pork, and sometimes fish, served with potatoes or rice.

National Drink: Pilsner beer and Budweiser Budvar.

National Animal: Double-tailed lion.

Star: Petr Cech (26), Chelsea (Eng) Regarded as the best in the world between the sticks for club and country.

Hidden Gem: Jan Koller (35), FC Nuremberg (Ger) the giant striker will retire from international football after the tournament but will be looking to add to his 51 international goals.

How They Qualified: Winners of Group D, ahead of Germany, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Wales, Cyprus and San Marino.

Previous Best:  Runners-up 1996 or winners in 1976 (as Czechoslovakia).

FIFA Ranking: 6

Key Fact: The squad are on unofficial probation after a boozy session during qualifying. The whole squad was fined £25,000, Bruckner almost quit, and tabloid reports claimed that six players had prostitutes in their hotel room, having claimed they were fans.

Karel BrucknerOverview: The Czechs aim is to go further than the group stage and that may be all they can hope for. An ageing squad has been battered by inconsistencies putting a damper on their preparations. Playmaking skipper Tomas Rosicky has been ruled out through injury leaving a gaping hole in the Czech’s creative armoury.

Odds: 16/1

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