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ESPN FC's Euro 2016 awards

Euro 2016

Euro 2016 team preview: Czech Republic can reach KO rounds again

Group D: Spain | Czech Republic | Turkey | Croatia

The Czechs have struggled recently to reach the heights of 1996 and 2004, when they reached the final and the semis, respectively. They did progress past the group stage in 2012, though, and a similar outcome would probably signal a decent campaign here.

How they qualified: First in Group A

They might be short of stars, but their qualification showed they cannot be underestimated, as they finished ahead of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands and won four of their six matches against those opponents.

How they'll proceed:

On paper, it is hard to give them too much chance, but the Czechs are a well-drilled unit and have some firepower as well, though their failure to keep a clean sheet in qualifying might speak volumes. They and Turkey will fight for third place, but the Round of 16 will be the limit.

TBD by Editor
The Czech Republic have reached the European Championship knockout rounds three times in five tournaments.

Predicted lineup:

(4-2-3-1); GK: Petr Cech; DF: Pavel Kaderabek, Michal Kadlec, Tomas Sivok, David Limbersky; MF: Jaroslav Plasil, David Pavelka, Borek Dockal, Vladimir Darida, Ladislav Krejci; FW: Tomas Necid.

Key player: Petr Cech

The Czechs conceded 14 goals in qualifying -- more than anyone else -- and a similar pattern of generosity would bode ill in France. In Cech, they have a goalkeeper revitalised by an impressive first season at Arsenal, and he will need to be at his sharpest.

Manager: Pavel Vrba

He has done a fine job since taking over in 2014, having previously led unfancied Viktoria Plzen to the Champions League group stage. He created an impressive cohesion in the team during qualifying, and a tough group will be an intriguing test of his ability at the next level.


June 13 vs. Spain (9 a.m. ET/1 p.m. GMT; Stade de Toulouse, Toulouse)

June 17 vs. Croatia (Noon ET/4 p.m. GMT; Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne)

June 21 vs. Turkey (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
-- LIVE on ESPN2

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