Czech Republic edge Ireland 1:0 in important Euro qualifier
Even before the first whistle in Wednesday evening's football Euro qualifier between the Czech Republic and Ireland, the game was being described as autumn's big event. There was no question that the Czechs - who had been suffering from poor form and had come under heaps of criticism of late - needed to win against Ireland to keep them in qualifying contention. They succeeded: on the night the Czechs played their most inspired game in months, just edging their opponents.
"Of course the beginning was important and we came out better than the Irish. In the beginning we played well and that of course helped us gain confidence. It was a good game; I think the people must have liked it. The tempo was fast and I think met expectations for a qualifying match."
Even with ten men Ireland had their chances, the closest coming in the 70th minute. Cech muffed the ball in the penalty area, allowing McShane to shoot at the open net. The ball was cleared off the line at the last second by Rozehnal. The Czechs then held on to their lead until the end, earning a crucial group D win that puts them six points ahead of Ireland, the closest contenders.
"It wasn't an easy game but we all looked forward to it. Above all we wanted to answer our critics. I think the criticism was far-fetched although people can make up their minds themselves. We really pushed for it, we fought and we won. "