Preview: Czech Republic vs. Italy
THE BIG PICTURE
A win takes either team through, a draw definitely takes Italy through. No prizes for guessing Italy’s tactics. Czech Republic may get by with a draw but it all depends on what Ghana and USA do. Their top strikers are unavailable, but the midfield is still first class. Calculators may not be necessary but have an abacus handy, just in case.
SCOUT REPORT – ITALY
Italy go into this as the only undefeated team in Group E, though they’ve come under heavy fire from the press back home for failing to perform against the US. Daniele De Rossi definitely misses out, after elbowing Brian McBride in the face, while Simone Perrotta may or may not be injured. Totti’s form hasn’t been great (he’s still clearly not match fit) but Del Piero looked dangerous during his weekend cameo, being unlucky not to score with two long range on target efforts. Lippi may be tempted to revert to the Italian stereotype and get men behind the ball here.
SCOUT REPORT – CZECH REPUBLIC
The Czechs were as dreadful against Ghana as they were impressive against USA, so predicting their form is like flipping a coin. Nedved and Rosicky should still provide a threat from midfield but they’re missing a key defender in Tomas Ujfalusi (suspended) and are severely depleted up front. Koller is definitely out with injury, Lokvenc is suspended and they’re sweating on the fitness of Milan Baros, who is yet to play in this World Cup. If he doesn’t make it then Jiri Stajner and Marek Heinz are the only available strikers. Both are solid enough, but won’t cause panic amongst Italian defenders the way Baros or Koller would have.
Teams: Likely formation; shirt numbers, name, caps, goals
Czech Republic (4-4-2): 1-Petr Cech (43-0); 2-Zdenek Grygera (43-1), 6-Marek Jankulovski (50-8), 22-David Rozehnal (24-0), 13-Martin Jiranek (24-0); 4-Tomas Galasek (51-1), 11-Pavel Nedved (89-18), 8-Karel Poborsky (117-8), 10-Tomas Rosicky (56-17); 18-Marek Heinz 28-5), 17-Jiri Stajner (23-3) Coach: Karel Brueckner
Italy (4-4-2): 1-Gianluigi Buffon (62-0); 2-Cristian Zaccardo (14-1), 13-Alessandro Nesta (76-0), 5-Fabio Cannavaro (95-1), 3-Fabio Grosso (18-1); 19-Gianluca Zambrotta (53-1), 21-Andrea Pirlo (26-5), 8-Gennaro Gattuso (42-1), 16-Mauro Camoranesi (22-1); 9-Luca Toni (20-7), 11-Alberto Gilardino (17-8) Coach: Marcello Lippi
Follow the match highlights as they happen on the Italy vs Czech Republic LiveBlog and stop by to leave your thoughts and comments about the match
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IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS
All of Italy’s players play in the Italian League. Unusual in today’s game.
Lunchtime is important to Italians. Meals are a time to spend with families. Stores often close at lunch and the children in elementary schools frequently go home for lunch with their families.
Daniele De Rossi threw and elbow at USA’s Brian McBride in the previous game. Blood came spilling out of McBride’s face and De Rossi was red carded and may not play in the rest of this World Cup. Seeing gushing blood at a World Cup match is an unusual site in this sport.
Czech Republic finished 2nd in the 1996 European Championships to Germany. Current starters Karel Poborsky and Pavel Nedved were on that team. Fast forward to 2006 and they are still at it.
Czech Republic is a completely landlocked country.
Czech Republic star midfielder Pavel Nedved has a hairstyle that resembles 80’s rockers from hair bands. He is said to still enjoy music from Whitesnake, White Lion, and Motley Crue.
TEAM BLOGS & DISCUSSIONS