Euro 2016

Czechs eye Turkish delight for progress

GROUP D

Czech Republic v Turkey
Singtel TV Ch142 & StarHub Ch220, tomorrow, 2.50am

LENS • Only a win against Turkey in their final Group D match will help the Czech Republic qualify automatically for the last 16 of Euro 2016.

They must also hope that Spain can overcome Croatia to cement their place.

Petr Cech's side could qualify as one of the best third-placed teams with a draw against Turkey, but they would want a win to celebrate their progress.

The Czechs were lucky to earn a point against Croatia, after they were beaten by Spain.

Tomas Necid's injury-time equaliser against Croatia gives them a chance to qualify in second place if they can overcome Turkey, who are bottom of Group D, and whose chances of qualifying are slim after losing their first two games.

If the Turks win today to finish with three points, they could be included in the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams, but their goal difference of -4 means that it is unlikely.

They were beaten 3-0 by Spain in what was probably the most one-sided match of the tournament so far, but will hope to put up a tough fight in their final match to secure three points.

The Czechs are surely the favourites today and coach Pavel Vrba praised his side's late equaliser against Croatia that keeps them in with a shot.

He said: "We'll play for everything in the last match. We've given ourselves a spark of hope (after the draw with Croatia) to get out of the group."

However, the side were dealt a huge blow on Saturday when a thigh injury ended captain Tomas Rosicky's involvement in the tournament.

The midfielder's absence from the Czech team is a huge blow for a side desperate for three points.

Otherwise, the Czech Republic have a fully fit squad, with the only concerns circling David Limbersky and Tomas Sivok, who are just one more booking away from a ban.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Czechs eye Turkish delight for progress'. Print Edition | Subscribe