Czech Republic - Poland Preview: Hosts fight for last-eight berth as Group A comes to a close
Both sides will approach this match knowing that a victory would seal them a place in the quarter-finals of the European Championship
By Daniel Edwards
Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky
Jiracek, Rosicky, Pilar
Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch
Blaszczykowski, Polanski, Murawski, Obraniak
Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky are two serious injury doubts for Czech Republic as they hope to confirm their place in the next round with victory over the hosts in Wroclaw. The Chelsea goalkeeper stated that he expects to be on the pitch when questioned on Thursday, but the Arsenal man is struggling with an Achilles problem and only played 45 minutes of the 2-1 victory over Greece.
If Rosicky is ruled out, Viktoria Plzen's Daniel Kolar could deputise in the playmaking role. Elsewhere, however, Michal Bilek should name the same side that overcame the Greeks, with Tomas Hubschman starting in front of the defence after an impressive performance in Tuesday's match.
Having completed a one-match suspension following a red card against Greece, Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny is expected to reclaim his place between the post for a game Poland have to win to continue their Euro 2012 campaign.
Meanwhile, a slight doubt also hangs over the head of Ludovic Obraniak. The midfielder reacted angrily to being substituted during the 1-1 draw with Russia, but has subsequently apologised and is expected to keep his place for Saturday's clash.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Czech Republic currently occupy second place in Group A, having rallied from a bruising defeat against Russia to pick up three points against Greece. A win would assure them qualification, while a tie leaves the Central Europeans hoping that Russia will deny the Greeks victory in order to avoid an early trip home.
The current name is the fourth title under which the Czech Republic have played since joining the international stage. The team were known as both Bohemia and Austria-Hungary before World War I, and then as a unified Czechoslovakia, which lifted the 1976 European Championship.
Coach Michal Bilek represented both Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic during his playing career, and has been in charge of the national team since 2009.
The Czechs have enjoyed an impressive record at the European tournament. Since entering for the first time and finishing second to Germany in 1996, the country has qualified for every finals and also took third place in 2004.
Poland hold a slim advantage over Saturday's rivals looking back over the history of the team's encounter. The Euro 2012 co-hosts have won three of the five matches played since the formation of the Czech Republic team, with no games ever ending in a draw so far.
The last time the two met was in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. A 2-1 win for the Poles on home soil was followed by the Czech team winning 3-2 in front of their own fans, although both missed out on the tournament held in South Africa after failing to qualify from Group 3
Poland have not played in the knock-out stages of a major competition for 26 years. A last-16 finish in 1986 was the last time the nation made it out of the first round, while 2012 is only the fourth tournament they have reached since that World Cup.
Having drawn both their previous games 1-1, Poland know that a win will guarantee their place in the last-16. Anything else, however, will lead to elimination.
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Top 3 Predictions
Czech Republic 1-2 Poland
- 21.11 %
Czech Republic 2-1 Poland
- 15.41 %
Czech Republic 1-1 Poland
- 10.72 %
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 17, 2012||Czech Republic 1 - Poland 0|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Oct 11, 2009||Czech Republic 2 - Poland 0|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Oct 12, 2008||Poland 2 - Czech Republic 1|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Feb 7, 2008||Poland 2 - Czech Republic 0|
|Nov 16, 2013||Czech Republic 2 - Canada 0||FR|
|Oct 16, 2013||Bulgaria 0 - Czech Republic 1||WCQE|
|Oct 12, 2013||Malta 1 - Czech Republic 4||WCQE|
|Sep 11, 2013||Italy 2 - Czech Republic 1||WCQE|
|Sep 7, 2013||Czech Republic 1 - Armenia 2||WCQE|
|2||Theodor Gebre Selassie||Defender|