Czech Republic v Greece – Match Preview

Petr Cech is hoping to avoid an early elimination from Euro 2012 as Czech Republic look to bounce back from their opening day defeat against Greece on Tuesday.

Michal Bilek’s men were comprehensively outplayed but Russia on Friday losing 4-1 plummeting straight to the foot of Group A in the process and Cech admitted the mood in the dressing room was one of disappointment and anger after the final whistle.

The Chelsea star believe his teammates need to start showing more aggression early on against Greece if they are to but they are intent on correcting the mistakes that led to their defeat.

“I think the anger has changed into determination. Determination to fix the bad start we had in the tournament,” he said. “We felt the disappointment immediately afterwards, for sure.

“We did not succeed in any way in that first match, but we know we have another 180 minutes to play to allow us to qualify for the quarter-finals. So we’re determined to do just that.”

Cech added: “The lessons we learned were not to make unnecessary mistakes and to play much more aggressively. They had a lot of space and they have some very good players, so they were able to use that.”

“We attacked them too late in the game, and they had already created their chances and scored them. We do not want to repeat those same mistakes and we will, of course, play more solidly in defence.”

Greece coach Fernando Santos is keen to avoid another slow opening to the one they endured in the tournament’s opening fixture against co-hosts Poland.

Santos is anticipating a bought test against a Czech side seeking a response to their loss to Russia and has identified all the mistakes made on Friday to ensure his squad is fully prepared for the game in Wroclaw.

“We were prepared for every circumstance against Poland. I will talk to my players and see if they know what went wrong and why they couldn’t play as we had planned.

“I’ve written all the mistakes they made on a big board, under the heading ‘What we should avoid’.

“We need to be more fresh in Wroclaw. We will work on a few details and watch videos of the Czechs.”

Team News

Russia have a fully fit squad to choose from but Bilek could make some changes to ensure his side remain fresh for the third and final group game.

Greece coach Santos has a selection dilemma on his hands with Sokratis Papastathopoulos suspended after being sent off in Warsaw and Avraam Papadopoulos out of the finals after suffering a torn cruciate ligament. Giorgos Fotakis is also out with a thigh injury.

Key Player

Dimitris Salpingidis

After coming off the bench to score Greece’s equaliser against Poland and providing a strong attacking threat Salpingidis is likely to start against the Czech Republic. His boundless running and willingness to close down gave the Greeks an extra dimension in the final third and he’ll be charged with doing it from the start on Tuesday.

Thomas Rosicky

Following a quiet game against Russia the Arsenal midfielder will be determined to exert his creative influence in Wroclaw and provide the telling link between the Czech’s midfield and attack. Rosicky didn’t see much of the ball in last week’s game and will need to get himself into the game more if he is to influence proceedings.

Prediction: 1-1

 


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