Czech Republic Euro 2012 Focus – Preparations suffer huge blow

It has been a week to forget for Czech Republic as following a shock defeat in their final warm up game at home to Hungary on Friday evening, an injury to their talismanic striker Milan Baros has put his participation in the European Championships in doubt.

Baros was forced to pull out of training on Tuesday due to a thigh strain, leaving him very doubtful for the group games, and almost certainly out of their opening group game against Russia on Friday. Although Baros has only scored three goals for the Czech Republic in the past two years, his experience at major tournaments is invaluable to a young team, and will leave the Czech’s with very few options up front. Baros has scored 41 goals in 89 caps for his country, proving to be a key player in most competitions the Czech’s have been involved in. If he is forced to withdraw, it will leave the team with only three recognised strikers in Tomas Pekhart, David Lafata and Tomas Necid who have only scored a combined total of 10 goals in 54 caps between them.

After a damaging 2-1 defeat at home to Hungary, a country who failed to qualify for the European Championships, Czech Republic were boosted by the return to training of their captain Tomas Rosicky on Tuesday afternoon. The diminutive central midfielder had been struggling with a calf problem since finishing an almost injury free season with club team Arsenal, and it looks like he may have won his battle against injury once more as he is set to start the group opener against Russia on Friday evening. Rosicky was dubbed ‘The Little Mozart’ during his time at Borussia Dortmund, and he will need to be on top form if his country are to have any chance of progressing in the tournament.

For Baros, he will have to wait for the results of his scan to see whether he will be the driving force along with Rosicky. In a group that includes Russia, Greece and Poland, the Czech’s will have a strong belief that they can qualify out of Group A, which many have picked as the easiest group to get out of. If they do manage to qualify they will face a much tougher opponent at the Quarter-Final stage, with the likelihood of either Portugal, Germany or the Netherlands awaiting them. For them to reach this far in the tournament though, they will need their best players playing at the top of their game. The nation of the Czech Republic will have their fingers crossed, hoping that their main man Baros will be fit to play some part in the group games. He has had a proven track record in previous tournaments, and could be the key to success for the Czech’s this time round as well.

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