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Old 2004-06-14, 20:36   Link #111
Ed & Winry? :O
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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The Euro 2004 Football Championships.

Czech Republic v Latvia - preview
by Graeme Bailey - Last Updated 14 Jun 2004

Czech Republic will look to live up to their tag of one of the most feared teams in Euro 2004 as they open their schedule against Latvia on Tuesday.

The Czechs face Latvia in Aveiro looking to get their programme off to the best possible start, knowing they face giants Holland and Germany in their final two group games.

Latvia by the same token will be looking to shrug off their label of the weakest team to make it to Portugal, by providing a shock against their more illustrious opponents.

Czech coach Karel Bruckner looks set to go with Milan Baros in attack - the man who normally always starts when fit - as he is preferred to Liverpool team-mate Vladimir Smicer.

He will partner the giant Jan Koller in attack after he shrugged off an arm injury.

The only other poser for Bruckner is in the centre of defence, where he looks set to go with Rene Bolf next to the established Tomas Ujfalusi.

Marek Jankulovski - who operates in midfield for his club Udinese - will play at left back and his marauding runs could be one of the Czechs' most dangerous attacking options.

The midfield is a lot more straight forward for Bruckner and he has a formidable four to call upon.

Tomas Galasek will anchor behind a three-pronged attack-minded layer, which will consist of Karel Poborsky, Tomas Rosicky and the brilliant Pavel Nedved.

One of Latvia's main benefits is that not many teams will know what to expect from the Baltic outfit, but having come through a play-off against Turkey to make it to Euro 2004 - they are unlikely to be underestimated.

The Latvians look like having their first choice starting XI available to them, which will be a boost to coach Aleksandr Starkovs.

Southampton's Marian Pahars has recovered from a thigh problem and he should partner the dangerous Maris Verpakovskis in attack.

The Latvians' midfield maestro Juris Laizans is the only real injury concern within the squad, but he is being tipped to take his place in the Muncipal de Aveiro.

Former English-based stars Igors Stepanovs, Alex Kolinko, Andrejs Rubins and Vitaly Astafjevs should all start, while Fulham's Andrejs Stolcers could also feature.
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