Monday, 12th June 2006
USA vs Czech
The United States and Czech Republic have never met before although they did play each
other in Italia 90, when Czech Republic was a part
The two teams were drawn together in Group 1 (of six groups) and played
in Florence on 10th June. Czechoslovakia beat United States (5:1) and went on to the
quarter-finals; where they were beaten by eventual winners, West Germany.
The USA might be ranked fifth in the world but just look at who they play against to get
Today Team USA played with the big boys and the biggest of them all,
head and shoulders above the rest, Jan Koller lost Eddie Pope with a trick run to the
front post (as Zdenek Grygera's cross was coming in from the right), then took a couple of
steps back and powered his header home, in the 5th minute, past the helpless Kasey Keller.
With the one goal lead, Czech Republic seemed prepared to let the USA
have more of the ball; hoping to catch them on the break again.
The first real attack on Petr Cech's goal, in the 28th minute,
resulted in Claudio Reyna's well struck shot thumping back off the foot of the post; with
the Chelsea goalkeeper clearly beaten.
Ten minutes before half-time, a poor clearance fell to Tomas Rosicky.
The Arsenal replacement for Robert Pires looked up briefly, struck the ball cleanly and
watched as it flew into Keller's top left corner.
A sprint into the channel, just before half-time, was a stride too far
for the just returned from injury, Jan Koller; as he pulled up and rolled over in the US
penalty area, with what looked like a strained hamstring.
The injury momentarily silenced the boisterous Czech fans; when they
would have preferred to be celebrating a comfortable half-time lead, with their main
target man a continued threat on the pitch for the second-half.
Bruce Arena made two half-time substitutions to try and change the
direction of the game.
The Americans still struggled to get into the game, early in the
second-half, although Pavel Nedved did get more physical attention; eventually earning the
American captain a booking, on the hour.
Because of the earlier booking, Reyna appeared sloppy when tracking
Nedved; allowing the Juventus maestro to turn easily and orchestrate another dangerous
attack for the Czech Republic.
Tomas Rosicky so nearly made it three, in the 68th minutes, with a
cracking shot onto Kasey Keller's crossbar, from way outside the area. Bruce Aren looked
on glumly; perhaps already pondering his battle plans for the next two games against Italy
He would have some relief to see substitute Eddie Johnson show what a
threat he can be, with a shot narrowly wide; a block on his next advance; followed by
Cech's safe hands cutting out another possible chance.
As Arena stood up to plan his next tactical substitution, Rosicky ran
through the middle; looked up once, then twice before lifting the ball cooly over Kasey
Keller and into the net.
The strong result by the Czech Republic will be a little overshadowed
by the injury to Jan Koller; especially if they get through to the final stages and he
USA 0 - Czech Republic 3
0:1 Jan Koller (5)
0:2 Tomas Rosicky (36)
0:3 Tomas Rosicky (76)
Our man of The Match:
Tomas Rosicky; two great goals and good interpretation of the play around him.
USA: (Captain Claudio Reyna)
18 Kasey Keller; 4 Pablo Mastroeni, 6 Steve Cherundolo, 22 Oguchi
Onyewu, 23 Eddie Pope; 7 Eddie Lewis, 10 Claudio Reyna, 15 Bobby
Convey, 17 DaMarcus Beasley, 21 Landon Donovan; 20 Brian McBride.
Czech Republic: (Captain Tomas
1 Petr Cech; 2 Zdenek Grygera, 6 Marek Jankulovski, 21 Tomas Ujfalusi, 22 David Rozehnal;
4 Tomas Galasek, 8 Karel Poborsky, 10 Tomas Rosicky, 11 Pavel Nedved, 20 Jaroslav Plasil;
9 Jan Koller.
Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay)
45 Mins (Czech Republic) - 12 Vratislav Lokvenc on for 9 Jan Koller
46 Mins (USA) - 5 John O'Brien on for 6 Steve Cherundolo
46 Mins (USA) - 9 Eddie Johnson on for 4 Pablo Mastroeni
77 Mins (USA) - 16 Josh Wolff on for 20 Brian McBride
82 Mins (Czech Republic) - 19 Jan Polak on for 8 Karel Poborsky
86 Mins (Czech Republic) - 17 Jiri Stajner on for 10 Tomas Rosicky
4 Mins - Oguchi Onyewu (USA)
16 Mins - David Rozehnal (Czech Repuclic)
59 Mins - Vratislav Lokvenc (Czech Republic)
60 Mins - Claudio Reyna (USA)
81 Mins - Tomas Rosicky (Czech Republic)
88 Mins - Zdenek Grygera (Czech Republic)
0 Red Cards.
2006 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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