Euro 2012 team guide and squad: Czech Republic

COMING second in Euro 2012 qualifying Group I behind Spain, the Czechs saw off Montenegro in the playoffs, with a 3-0 aggregate victory.

Having endured something of a torrid time with World Cups, the Czech Republic has never failed to qualify for the European Championships since 1992, coming second and third in 1996 and 2004 respectively.

The Czechs had a mixed qualifying campaign for this year’s tournament, with a shock home defeat to Baltic minnows Lithuania coupled with a controversial penalty giving them a last-minute draw with Scotland at Hampden.

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Despite a fans survey revealing an atonishing 96 per cent wanted manager Michal Bilek sacked, the former Czech international appears to have the support of the players, although failure to give a good account of themselves could threaten his job.

KEY PLAYER: Gone are the days of Pavel Nedved, Patrik Berger and Jan Koller, and the Czechs haven’t managed to replace them with players of a similar standard. Left back Michal Kadlec was, surprisingly, top scorer in qualifying with four goals, three of which were penalties and there are some familiar faces in the squad - Petr Cech and Tomáš Rosický to name two - but we reckon Bordeaux winger Jaroslav Plasil could be the man to provide the Czech forwards with ammunition.

ODDS: 66-1

WORLD RANKING: 26

GROUP A

FIXTURES:

June 08, 2012 Russia (Wroclaw, Pol)

June 12, 2012 Greece (Wroclaw, Pol)

June 16, 2012 Poland (Wroclaw, Pol)

COACH: Michal Bílek - A former internationalist, the Prague-born 47-year-old played his entire career in his homeland, bar two years with Spaniards Real Betis. A midfielder, he played 35 games for both Czechoslovakia, and the Czech Republic, scoring 11 goals in the process. Along with former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer, he took charge of the national side in 2009 after then coach Ivan Hasek resigned, following the country’s failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He said it...

“We would like to follow up on the good end to autumn, when I think we played well.”

SQUAD

Goalkeepers

Petr Cech (Chelsea FC)

Jaroslav Drobný (Hamburger SV)

Jan Laštuvka (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)

Defenders

Theodor Gebre Selassie (FC Slovan Liberec)

Roman Hubník (Hertha BSC Berlin)

Michal Kadlec (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

David Limberský (FC Viktoria Plzen)

Tomáš Sivok (Besiktas JK)

Marek Suchý (FC Spartak Moscow)

Midfielders

Vladimír Darida (FC Viktoria Plzen)

Tomáš Hübschman (FC Shakhtar Donetsk)

Petr Jirácek (VfL Wolfsburg)

Daniel Kolár (FC Viktoria Plzen)

Milan Petržela (FC Viktoria Plzen)

Václav Pilar (FC Viktoria Plzen)

Jaroslav Plašil (FC Girondins de Bordeaux)

František Rajtoral (FC Viktoria Plzen)

Tomáš Rosický (Arsenal FC)

Forwards

Milan Baroš (Galatasaray AS)

David Lafata (FK Jablonec)

Tomáš Necid (PFC CSKA Moscow)

Tomáš Pekhart (1. FC Nürnberg)

Jan Rezek (Anorthosis Famagusta FC)