National football squad qualifies for Euro 2012
The Czech Republic’s national football team has secured a berth at Euro 2012 defeating Montenegro 1:0 on Tuesday in their second-leg matchup in Podgorica. It will be the fifth straight appearance by the Czech Republic in the European Championships.
The second was a little more dramatic.
Montenegro came close when Dejan Damjanovic rang a shot off the bar and Mirko Vucinic had two back-to-back shots but Czech goalie Petr Čech was the difference. Vucinic later also got an even better opportunity: a header up close that went wide but really should have gone in. Had any one of those goals gone in the game would certainly have heated up.
“The road to qualification was a long one and one that we began in the worst possible way: we had ten goal chances against Lithuania and still lost. Then, it’s true that the atmosphere with the fans over two years wasn’t great. Also, the new coach took over and introduced a change in players – a generational shift – and that too wasn’t easy. On the other hand, we wanted all the more to show the fans that we could do it, and in the end we did.”
Many will look back on qualification for Euro 2012 – which saw its share of poor or close matches were the Czechs were lucky to scrape by – with a sense of relief.
Third, also of paramount importance, was the return to form of long-injured team captain Tomáš Rosický as a leader and key playmaker.
And fourth, the Czechs also had a little luck and that too didn’t hurt.