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Cech takes heart out of Russian defeat

The Czechs lie bottom of the group as co-hosts Poland and Euro 2004 champions Greece

AFP , Saturday 9 Jun 2012
Petr Cech
Czech Republic's goalkeeper Petr Cech reacts after their Group A Euro 2012 soccer match against Russia at the City stadium in Wroclaw June 8, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS)

Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech tried to take the positives out of the 4-1 hammering his side received at the hands of Russia in their Euro 2012 opener by saying he took heart from what happened at the 2006 World Cup.

The 30-year-old - a member of the flair-filled Czech side that reached the Euro 2004 semi-finals - said the defeat was hurting but not a mortal blow to their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.

"The next step will be to win the next game," said Cech, who has been quickly brought down to earth after winning the Champions League with Chelsea.

"It's true that this game didn't end up well, but then at the 2006 World Cup we beat the US 3-0 and then went back home after the group games.

"The first game sometimes shows what the group will be like but it's not the key one, the crucial game will be the second one (against Greece on Tuesday). If we fail in that one, our chances of advancing will be very thin."

While Cech highlighted the cavalier attitude the outfield players had shown in attacking at will the Russians leaving the defence exposed, Czech coach Michal Bilek said it was the back four that needed to tighten up.

"We have to improve our defence for the next game and combinations too as there were too many losses of possession and we found it hard to play then," he said.

The Czechs lie bottom of the group as co-hosts Poland and Euro 2004 champions Greece, who beat the Czechs in the semi-finals on their way to the title, drew 1-1 in Warsaw.

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