Czech soccer star upbeat about national squad’s EURO 2012 chances

Petr Jiráček, Tomáš Hübschman, Tomáš Rosický, Michal Kadlec, photo: CTK

Friday night at 8:45 p.m., the Czech national team meets Russia, its first opponent in the group stage of the EURO 2012 soccer championships, hosted by Poland and the Ukraine. The Czechs will also be playing Greece and Poland in the group stage. Ahead of the kick-off, we spoke to Czech soccer star Pavlína Ščasná-Nováková, who previously has played with FC Bayern Munich as well as other international teams, about the Czechs’ chances, the health of the squad’s star players and the strengths of the national team.

Petr Čech,  photo: CTK
“Our strengths are the very talented players that we have, who play in great leagues in Europe, the Premier League, Petr Čech, and Tomáš Rosický, I think those two are the best players on our squad. It is very important to get them into the game healthy, so hopefully Rosický will be in good form and not struggling with any health issues, just like he was during the last Arsenal games. Čech had a great season with Chelsea: They won the Champions League. So those two players are crucial for our team and I hope that they will lead our team to the quarterfinals, which I think also all Czechs are hoping for.”

Our first match is against Russia. What kind of opponent are they and what are the challenges in this game?

“Russia is a very strong opponent, they are confident that they will reach the quarterfinals. But I don’t think that it will be easy for them. I think the Czechs will make this first group game a very difficult one for Russia today, they will play strong defense and Russia will not have an easy game to play They have a strong forward, Andrei Arshavin, and midfield player, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, they both play for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and Andrei Arshavin has foreign experiences in the Premier League. But hopefully they will not play their best game against the Czechs and I hope that our team will celebrate a success with its defense today.”

Petr Jiráček,  Tomáš Rosický,  photo: CTK
So what is the current status quo as far as the health of the two prominent players, Tomáš Rosický and Milan Baroš, is concerned?

“I don’t have any more information than what the media have, but everyone hopes that Tomáš Rosický will be able to play. Milan Baroš is in a bit worse shape, let’s hope that he also can play today. But if he can’t, that is not such a big problem. Rosický is more important for the team, he is a crucial player, so hopefully he can play.”