Coach: Pavel Vrba
Colours: Red shirts, red shorts, red socks
v Spain (13 June, Toulouse)
v Croatia (17 June, Saint-Étienne)
v Turkey (21 June, Lens)
Perennial dark horses, the Czech Republic have always reserved their best form for the Euros. As Czechoslovakia they were winners of the title in 1976 in the tournament’s first-ever penalty shootout, a now-famous moment that saw the Czechs beat West Germany courtesy of Antonín Panenka’s famous chipped spot-kick.
Runners-up in 1996 and semi-finalists in 2004 with their more recent identity, the current Czech side don’t have the big stars as in previous tournaments, but in a group of dark horses they can never be underestimated.
How They Got There
The Nároďák (“National Team”) were drawn in a testing qualifying group alongside the Netherlands, Turkey, Iceland, Latvia and Kazakhstan, and maintained some solid form to finish top of the group with an impressive 7-1-2 record, ahead of surprise package Iceland and the Turks.
A 2-1 win over the group favourites from Holland got the campaign off to a terrific start, and four wins on the bounce before a surprise 1-1 draw at home to Latvia set them on their way to France. Despite suffering defeats against both Iceland and Turkey, the Czechs’ progress was smooth and efficient, culminating with a rousing 3-2 win in Amsterdam to complete the double over the Dutch.
v Iceland 2-1 (h), 1-2 (a)
v Turkey 0-2 (h), 2-1 (a)
v Netherlands 2-1 (h), 3-2 (a)
v Latvia 1-1 (h), 2-1 (a)
v Kazakhstan 2-1 (h), 4-2 (a)
Arsenal Goalkeeper Petr Čech is arguably the biggest name in the Czech team, one of three players with a century of caps alongside skipper Tomáš Rosický and Jaroslav Plašil. Another name to watch will be Vladimír Darida, who plies his trade with Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga.
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Arsenal), Tomas Vaclik (Basel), Tomas Koubek (Sparta Prague)
Defenders: Theodor Gebre Selassie (Werder Bremen), Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim), David Limbersky (Viktoria Pilsen), Marek Suchy (Basel), Michal Kadlec (Sparta Prague), Tomas Sivok (Bursaspor), Roman Hubnik (Viktoria Pilsen), Daniel Pudil (Sheffield Wednesday)
Midfielders: Borek Dockal (Sparta Prague), Jiri Skalak (Brighton), Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin), Daniel Kolar (Viktoria Pilsen), Ladislav Krejci (Sparta Prague), Josef Sural (Sparta Prague), David Pavelka (Kasimpasa), Jaroslav Plasil (Bordeaux), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal)
Forwards: Milan Skoda (Slavia Prague), Tomas Necid (Bursaspor), David Lafata (Sparta Prague)