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Rediff.com  » Sports » Penpix of the Czech Republic's World Cup squad

Penpix of the Czech Republic's World Cup squad

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May 29, 2006 19:08 IST

The Czech Republic's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 24 2006)

GOALKEEPERS

1-Petr Cech (Chelsea, England) Born: 20.5.82. Caps: 39 Goals: 0.

Helped Chelsea to win their first title in 50 years in 2005 while establishing a string of Premier League records -- 1,025 minutes without a goal and 24 clean sheets. Won a second league medal this season. Moved to London from Stade Rennes after the Euro 2004 finals. A penalty-shootout specialist, which may be a bonus if the Czechs make it to the knock-out stages. He is developing into one of the best keepers in the world.

16-Jaromir Blazek (Sparta Prague) Born: 29.12.72. Caps: 10 Goals: 0.

Experienced back-up to Cech, proven by several Champions League seasons with Sparta Prague. Often comes out best when faced with a one-on-one situation with a rival striker. Also played for local Prague rivals Slavia and Bohemians.

23-Antonin Kinsky (Saturn Ramenskoye, Russia) Born: 31.5.75. Caps: 5 Goals: 0.

Has sealed the number three spot in the squad, but his chances of playing at the World Cup are slim. Formerly with Slovan Liberec.

DEFENDERS

2-Zdenek Grygera (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands) Born: 14.5.80. Caps: 38 Goals: 1.

Can play either as a right back or, more recently, as a central defender for Ajax. Attacking defender who is a dead ball specialist and has regularly been his team's penalty taker. Played with Sparta Prague.

6-Marek Jankulovski (AC Milan, Italy) Born: 9.5.77. Caps: 45 Goals: 7.

Left-footed attacking midfielder established as a first choice since his surprise selection for the Euro 2000 final squad. Takes Czech penalty kicks alongside Jan Koller. Previously with Udinese, Napoli and Banik Ostrava.

13-Martin Jiranek (Spartak Moscow, Russia) Born: 25.5.79. Caps: 21 Goals: 0.

Tough defender who will battle with Ajax's Grygera for the starting position on the right side of midfield. Previously with Reggina and Slovan Liberec.

5-Radoslav Kovac (Spartak Moscow, Russia) Born: 27.11.79. Caps: 5 Goals: 0.

Tall and tough defensive organiser, likely to be used as cover for Galasek or Polak in a defensive midfield role.

3-Pavel Mares (Zenit St Petersburg, Russia) Born: 18.1.76. Caps: 8 Goals: 0.  

Reliable back-up to Jankulovski, but less supporting in the attack. Played with Sparta Prague and Bohemians Prague.

22-David Rozehnal (Paris St Germain, France) Born: 5.7.80. Caps: 19 Goals: 0.

Tall centre-half who took over the first-choice post from Rene Bolf in the middle of the qualifying campaign and shows no signs of returning to the bench. Formerly with Club Bruges and Sigma Olomouc.

21-Tomas Ujfalusi (Fiorentina, Italy) Born: 24.3.78. Caps: 46 Goals: 2.

Technical defender with long, flowing hair. Is a firm pillar in partnership with Rozehnal. Formerly with Hamburg SV and Sigma Olomouc.

MIDFIELDERS

4-Tomas Galasek (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands) Born: 15.1.73. Caps: 49 Goals: 1.

Czech captain who took over the defensive midfield duties from Radek Bejbl after Euro 2000 and has established himself as indispensable since then. Left Banik Ostrava in 1996 without the club's permission for Dutch side Tilburg.

14-David Jarolim (Hamburg SV, Germany) Born: 17.5.79. Caps: 1 Goals: 0.

Good performances and move to the right wing from the central playmaking post in Hamburg have increased the chances of this mercurial midfielder playing in the finals, although he may have to be content with a place on the bench initially.

11-Pavel Nedved (Juventus, Italy) Born: 30.8.72. Caps: 85 Goals: 17.

Juventus playmaker and former Czech captain returned from self-imposed exile after 16 months to help in play-off against Norway. The 2003 European Player of the Year was also keen to erase the memory of the World Cup play-off lost to Belgium four years ago, when his reputation took a hit. He is probably going to start in Germany, if fully fit. The Czech Player of the Year in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004.

20-Jaroslav Plasil (Monaco, France) Born: 5.1.82. Caps: 11 Goals: 1.

Returned to the team just in time for the play-off after a foot injury. With the advantage that he can substitute left-winger Nedved as well as right-winger Poborsky, he may collect further experience after Euro 2004.

8-Karel Poborsky (Ceske Budejovice) Born: 30.3.72. Caps: 112 Goals: 8.

The most capped Czech player is on loan to his second division side after clashing with coach Jaroslav Hrebik at Sparta Prague earlier this season. Hrebik was then sacked after a string of defeats. Has scored only six international goals since his memorable chip gave the Czechs victory over Portugal in the 1996 European Championship quarter-finals. Played with Lazio, Benfica, Manchester United and Slavia Prague.

19-Jan Polak (Nuremberg, Germany) Born: 14.3.81. Caps: 15 Goals: 5.

Established as a future number one defensive midfielder when Galasek could not play this year. Dangerous with long-range shots. Has a Mohawk haircut. Made a surprise debut at the age of 18 under former coach Jozef Chovanec, but had to wait five years to resume his international career in a 3-0 victory over Slovenia in February 2005.

10-Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal, England) Born: 4.10.80. Caps: 53 Goals: 15.

Joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for 8 million pounds in late May. He scored what he described as "the most important goal of my life" in the second leg of the Norway play-off. He set a Bundesliga transfer fee record in January 2001 when he moved from Sparta Prague after just 18 months in the first team. The country's soccer player of 2001 and 2002.

FORWARDS

15-Milan Baros (Aston Villa, England) Born: 28.10.81. Caps: 46 Goals: 26.

Top scorer at Euro 2004. Quick, red-hot striker fights defenders as well as referees, who often see him as a penalty box diver even when he has a real reason to fall. Scored on his debut against Belgium at 19 and moved to Villa after winning the European Champions League with Liverpool last season.

18-Marek Heinz (Galatasaray, Turkey) Born: 4.8.77. Caps: 26 Goals: 5.

Top Czech league goalscorer with 2004 champions Banik Ostrava. Played under coach Karel Brueckner at Euro Under-21 finals and Sydney Olympic Games in 2000

9-Jan Koller (Borussia Dortmund, Germany) Born: 30.3.73. Caps: 66 Goals: 40.

The Czech's all-time international record scorer who found the back of the net 11 times in the qualifying campaign before injuring his knee in September. The lanky, 2.02-metre striker has become nearly unstoppable in the air but is also a handful on the ground. He is almost indispensable for the Czechs, so his recovery will be widely watched. The country's soccer player of 1999, played with Anderlecht, Lokeren and Sparta Prague.

12-Vratislav Lokvenc (Salzburg, Austria) Born: 27.9.73. Caps: 69 Goals: 13.

Natural replacement for Koller and suffers from the same knee injury, but went under knife later on and is therefore more doubtful to be fit.

At 1.96 metres, Lokvenc's sporadic pairing with Koller creates huge problems for defenders.

7-Vladimir Smicer (Girondins Bordeaux, France) Born: 24.5.73. Caps: 81 Goals: 27

Veteran striker or attacking midfielder has finally made it to the World Cup after years of near misses. Headed the lone goal in the first leg of the play-off against Norway. Played with Liverpool, RC Lens and Slavia Prague. Scored after coming on as a substitute in Liverpool's Champions League victory last season and also won the UEFA Cup with Liverpool in 2001.

17-Jiri Stajner (Hanover 96, Germany) Born: 27.5.76. Caps: 18 Goals: 3.

Small, versatile striker who did not get into the final Euro 2004 squad but has had a much improved season in the Bundesliga this year. Czech leading scorer with champions Slovan Liberec in 2002.

Source:
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