Friday, June 15, 2012
Know Your Enemy: Czech Republic
Here is my Q&A with Chris Boothroyd of The Czech Up to get a sense of how the Czech Republic are feeling and what's going on inside their camp ahead of their clash with Poland.
Adam: What's the mood like around the team ahead of Saturday's clash with Poland?
Chris: There seems to be a mixture of optimism and doom emanating out of the Czech press, though the mood in National Team camp, from the outside at least, looks to be fairly positive. The biggest concern hanging over the squad is the fitness of two key men; Tomas Rosicky only managed forty-five minutes against Greece and had to be substituted with an Achilles tendon problem, while Petr Cech has been suffering with a shoulder complaint.
Adam: What are the chances Rosicky and Cech play. If not, who can replace them?
Chris: Petr Cech should play, while team doctors have cautiously rated Rosicky’s chances at 75% to play publically, though many journalists are speculating that is an optimistic target and are unsure if the Arsenal man will play against Poland. If Rosicky does not play, Plzen midfielder Daniel Kolar is the obvious replacement. Another option mooted is to move Petr Jiracek into the centre and allow Jan Rezek or Milan Petrzela to start on the right wing. The best, if most unlikely option, would be to move Jaroslav Plasil further forwards but I doubt we would see that happen. Luckily Cech should play. His replacements Jan Lastuvka and Jaroslav Drobny while competent are nowhere near the level of the Chelsea stopper.
Adam: A draw will most likely be good for you guys (If Russia win or draw vs. Greece). Will Czech play cautiously or go for the win?
Chris: A draw may not be enough against Poland to secure qualification, but saying that I do not expect the Czechs to attack straight from the opening whistle. The opening periods against Greece and Russia were good, but a much more reserved approach would work well. If the midfield can frustrate Poland and put the pressure on them, then openings will crop up. Trying to force the game, especially without Tomas Rosicky could be a dangerous approach. If the Czechs attack wisely and heap pressure on the co-hosts then they'll succeed. As silly as it might sound, an early Czech goal could be the worst possible start for them.
Adam: What should the Polish national team worried about playing the Czech Republic?
Chris: Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar have been in scintillating form in this Championship and are the obvious threats to the Polish defense, though if the Czechs can assert themselves on the game the fullbacks of Theo Gebre Selassie and David Limbersky will also cause problems, much the same way that Lukasz Piszczek has been doing for Poland and Borussia Dortmund. Without a shot on goal by any Czech forwards, stating that the Polish defense will need to be wary of them may seem strange, but if Rosicky does not start then the playing style may well be changed which could play into the strengths of Baros and Pekhart et al, though that is a big if.
Big thanks to Chris Boothroyd who you can follow on twitter @theczechup.
Posted by Adam Kutarnia at 4:20 PM