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Czech Republic - Euro 2012 Team Guide

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Published on Jun 1, 2012

The Czech Republic's semi-final appearance at Euro 2004 is fast becoming a distant memory. Since then, they've failed to progress from the group stages of any major international tournament.

Qualification for Euro 2012 was not easy either - it took a playoff victory against Montenegro for the Czechs to secure their place in the finals.

Their opening match is against Group A favourites Russia - the only previous meeting between the sides ended in a 3-3 draw.

They'll stay in the South West to play Greece, who beat them in the Euro 2004 semi-final on their way to winning the tournament.

Their final group game is against co-hosts Poland. One of the Czech's biggest weapons in qualifying was the width in their build-up play and key to that was Michal Kadlec.

The Bayer Leverkusen left-back was their top scorer in qualifying with four goals, three of which came from the penalty spot.

The Czechs will be banking on him to continue his impressive scoring. Michal Bilek took over from Ivan Hasek as head coach in 2009 following the Czech Republic's failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

But the 44-year-old has struggled for popularity so far. The players have also come in for some criticism - derogatory songs aimed at their critics after they qualified resulted in fines from the Czech FA. The Czech's golden generation of Pavel Nedved, Patrik Berger and Karol Poborski have long since hung up their boots.

Without that sort of quality in his squad Bilek faces a challenge if he's to emulate their success of 2004.

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