Czechs sign off with a win over Denmark

By Peter Smith

The footballers of the Czech Republic brought the curtain down on their Euro 2000 campaign with a rather undeserved 2-0 victory over Group D's bottom team, Denmark.

Vladimir Smicer proved the hero of the night for the Czechs, scoring twice in three minutes in the second half, after the Danish had dominated many of the opening exchanges. Jesper Gronkjaer proved to be a constant threat on the left wing, cutting in twice in the first half to threaten Srnicek in the Czech goal.

Gronkjaer's wonderful cross into the box midway through the first half found Jan Dahl Tomasson free, but the former Newcastle striker failed to control the ball. Tomasson went close again before Karel Poborsky finally broke the siege by rifling a rocket-shot just wide of Peter Schmeichal's right-hand post.

The deadlock was broken against the run of play in the 63rd minute, when Poborsky knocked a ball across the goal to leave the Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer the simple task of tapping it into the net. The Czechs doubled their lead only three minutes later when Smicer raced past the hesitant Schmeichal to slot into an empty net.

Despite Tomasson having a late penalty claim refused by the Egptian referee, Gamal El Ghandour, there was no way back for the Danes.

So, the Czech Republic finish 3rd in the Group of Death with Holland and France advancing to the quarter-finals. They'll be a lot of hard-luck stories to be told about the Czechs' Euro 2000 campaign and one can only hope that they don't cloud Josef Chovanec's preparations for the 2002 World Cup Qualifyers, which begin in the Autumn.

(Click here for our Euro 2000 results and group tables page.)