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Friday 15 December 2017

Czechs say Rosicky not fit to start Warsaw tie

CZECH REPUBLIC team manager Vladimir Smicer says injured captain Tomas Rosicky is not ready to start in tonight’s European Championship |quarter-final against Portugal.

Rosicky has an Achilles tendon injury and Smicer said today: “Tomas will definitely not play from the start.”

Smicer says the influential playmaker will be on the substitutes’ bench for the game at Warsaw’s National Stadium and “if we are in trouble at the end, he may give it a try and help us.”

Rosicky picked up the injury during a 2-1 win over Greece on June 12 and only resumed training yesterday. He missed his team's 1-0 victory over Poland on Saturday, when his place in midfield went to Daniel Kolar.

Czech head coach Michal Bilek said: “It’s a complication, because every time he doesn’t play we miss him. He’s our key player.”

Rosicky also missed the Czechs’ previous game against Portugal, when the two teams met in group stages of the European championship in Austria and Switzerland in 2008. He then had a hamstring injury that kept him out of action for 18 months.

The Czechs lost to Russia 4-1 in their opening game of this year’s tournament. They later beat Greece and Poland to advance to the next stage as the group leaders, while the other two eastern European countries failed to qualify.

“We opened up the game too much and Russia punished us for that,” Bilek said. “We strengthened the defence and that was the key. We have learned a lot from the first match.”

“Ronaldo can score 40, 50 goals a season and defending against him is exceptional,” the Czech coach said. “We have to close the defence and not give him any space because if Ronaldo runs, it’s impossible to stop him.”

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