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Czech Republic

This is the first World Cup appearance for the team. Under tough competition against Group team Italy, much will depend upon Pavel Nedved's midfeilding and Milan Baros' upfront scoring techniques.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 19:17 IST
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FIFA world ranking 2
Coach Karel Bruckner
Group E Italy, Czech Republic, USA, Ghana
Previous appearances 8 (1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1990); Runners-up (1934, 1962); Quarter-finalists (1990)
Key player Pavel Nedved
Odds 33/1


For theCzechs its their first World Cup since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.

And even asa relatively new country, Czech Republic have done well in Europe. But strangely, this is only for the first time that they have qualified for the World Cup.

And their road to Germany wasn't smooth either. Their inconsistent form in the qualifiers meant that they had to play Norway in the play-offs. They finally managed to edge out the Scandinavians to book their ticket.

They play very attractive soccer. To many, they were the best team of Euro 2004 when reached the semis, losing to the eventual winners Greece.

Pavel Nedved, one of the finest midfielders in the world, is their inspiration. Upfront, they have the gifted Milan Baros, the top scorer of Euro 2004.

Much will depend on Nedved and Baros as the Czech Republic will battle with three-time World Champions Italy, Ghana and USA in Group E to enter the second round.

COMPLETE SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jaromir Blazek, Petr Cech, Antonin Kinsky

Defenders: Zdenek Grygera, Marek Jankulovski, Martin Jiranek, Radoslav Kovac, Pavel Mares, David Rozehnal, Tomas Ujfalusi

Midfielders: Tomas Galasek, David Jarolim, Pavel Nedved, Jaroslav Plasil, Karel Poborsky, Jan Polak, Tomas Rosicky, Vladimir Smicer

Forwards: Milan Baros, Marek Heinz, Jan Koller, Vratislav Lokvenc, Jiri Stajner.

First Published: May 25, 2006 19:17 IST