Bílek says the squad is beginning to have a stable feel to it
Czech national football manager Michal Bílek announced a largely unsurprising 23-name squad for the 2012 European Championships being hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
The main focus of the nomination was his late decision to include young Viktoria Plzeň midfielder Vladimír Darida in place of Sparta Prague’s Daniel Pudil. Bílek said that 21-year-old Darida had been selected in case Czech captain and Arsenal star Tomáš Rosický’s health problems persist.
Midfielder Rosický has strained a calf muscle and is only training lightly with the rest of the club. “I am taking part in some training. It appears good; I am on the right track,” he said at Tuesday’s news conference.
Bílek said that even if Rosický did not play in a friendly against Hungary on Friday, the main issue was that he would be fit for the Czechs’ opening match against Russia on June 8. The Czechs are also in the same group as Poland and Greece.
ʻI am taking part in some training. It appears good, I am on the right track.ʼ
Darida was picked ahead of Pudil following the former’s sparkling performance in another pre-tournament friendly against Israel on Saturday. He is one of six Plzeň players in the squad. The team won a lot of praise and experience from the Champions League run this season in which they played open, attacking football and finished third in the top Czech league this season.
One last-minute worry for the Czech team is that Legionella bacteria has been found in the five-star Polish hotel where the squad is due to stay for the whole part of the first group stage of the tournament in Wroclaw.
The Czechs are hoping that the problem will be solved by the time they arrive with local media reporting that the problem, found during routine checks in April, had been tackled. If not, the Czechs will be forced to seek a late hotel transfer. An irony is that Czech players abroad are often dubbed legionaires after the Czechoslovaks who fought against the Central Powers in WWI.
The full squad is:
Goalkeepers: Petr Čech (Chelsea), Jarolsav Drobný (Hamburg), Jan Laštůvka (Dnepropetrvsk).
Defenders: Theodor Gebre Selassie (Liberec), Roman Hubník (Hertha), Michal Kadlec (Leverkusen), David Limberský (Plzeň), František Rajtoral (Plzeň), Tomáš Sivok (Besiktas), Marek Suchý (Spartak Moscow).
Midfielders: Vladimír Darida (Plzeň), Tomáš Hübschman (Shakhtar Donetsk), Petr Jiráček (Wolfsburg), Daniel Kolář (Plzeň), Milan Petržela (Plzeň), Václav Pilař (Plzeň), Jaroslav Plašil (Bordeaux), Jan Rezek (Famagusta), TomášRosický (Arsenal).
Strikers: Milan Baroš, David Lafata (Jablonec), Tomáš Necid (CSKA Moscow), Tomáš Pekhart (Nuremberg).