Team Preview: Czech Republic

FIFA Ranking: 8

Euro history: The Czech Republic has now made five straight Euros, since dividing with Slovakia. They finished second in 1996, and made the semifinals in 2004. They bowed out of Euro 2008 in the group stage after squandering a two-goal lead in the second half against Turkey.

How they qualified: Czech Republic survived a run by Scotland to secure second place in Group I. Czech Republic finished 11 points behind first place Spain. Czech Republic handily defeated Montenegro 3-0 on aggregate in the second place play-offs.

Group information and schedule: Czech Republic is in Group A with Russia, Greece and Poland. All three group matches will be played in Poland.

June 8 vs. Russia in Wroclaw

June 12 vs. Greece in Wroclaw

June 16 vs. Poland in Wroclaw

Early roster thoughts: The Czech Republic’s best player is goalkeeper Petr Cech, who just won the Champions League with Chelsea. Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky didn’t have a great season, but will be expected to provide creativity. Striker Milan Baros has 40 goals in 87 appearances for his country, and 22-year old Tomas Necid is a forward who can breakout this tournament.

How they will do: Czech Republic will count on their more experienced players, Cech, Rosicky and Baros, to carry them. It’s not a great group, and the Czechs and their fans might get comfortable with all three games being played in Wroclaw. The June 16 match against Poland could be a battle for second place.

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