Czech Republic vs Poland Euro 2012: Stars That Will Lead Narodak into Next Round
After being throttled 4-1 by Russia in the second match of Euro 2012, it appeared as though the Czech Republic's chances of advancing to the knock-out stage were slim and none. The Czechs bounced back with a huge 2-1 win over Greece, however, and are either a win or a draw and a Greece loss or draw away from moving on to the next round.
Poland has been a pesky squad to this point as it hung on to tie Greece in the opener and came back to score a draw against Russia as well, so putting Biale Orly away won't be easy. Poland needs a win in this match or else it will officially be eliminated since it is one point behind the Czechs in the standings. That won't be enough to push the host country forward, however.
Here are three stars players that will be on top of their respective games and lead Narodak into knock-out play by securing a win or draw vs. Poland.
Which player will be most important in Czech Republic's match vs. Poland?
His is widely regarded as one of the best and most-experienced goalkeepers in the world, but Petr Cech got his Euro 2012 off to an inauspicious start. He allowed four goals in the Czech Republic's opening loss to Russia, and while he couldn't do much about any of them, a lesser goalie's confidence would have been rattled. That wasn't the case for Cech, however, as he stepped up in the Czechs' next match by allowing just one goal against Greece and picking up the win.
Some may write off Cech because of his age, but he has played in tons of big games and won't let the pressure get to him in a hostile environment against Poland. Cech fully realizes that if he doesn't let in any goals on Saturday, the Czechs will be moving on in all likelihood despite the train wreck of a game they had against Russia. The Czech defense will have to play how it did against Greece and not Russia, though, if it is going to be successful.
The Czechs have scored three times in two matches thus far, and young forward Vaclav Pilar has two of those goals. The 23-year-old striker with Viktoria Plzen has shown excellent pace and skill thus far and he has a penchant for finishing as well. I doubt Narodak is going to be pushing the pace early since a tie is just about as good as a win for them provided Russia doesn't lose to Greece. If a goal is needed a bit later in the match, though, Pilar will be the guy that the squad turns to.
That doesn't mean that the Czech Republic will totally rest on its laurels, however. If Pilar sees an opening early in the game to get on the scoreboard, he is going to take a chance. The Czechs would be in great position if they could get a one-goal cushion on Poland because they would essentially have a two-goal advantage. Poland is certainly going to be cognizant of where Pilar is at all times, but he has the skill and speed to find even the tiniest cracks in the defense.
Theodor Gebre Selassie
He may not receive as much credit as Cech or popular strikers like Pilar and Milan Baros, but right-back Theodor Gebre Selassie had a profound impact on the Czechs' win over Greece. He is actually a midfielder by trade, which explains his fantastic runs down the field and into dangerous areas against the Greek squad. It is always a plus to have some offensive acumen from the back end, and that is precisely what Gebre Selassie brings to the table.
He may not show up on the score sheet, but if the Czechs are able to score a goal or two against Poland, there is a good chance that one of Gebre Selassie's probing forays down the pitch will be responsible for them.
Playing solid defense will also be of the utmost importance for Gebre Selassie as the Czechs will try to muddle things in an effort to move on, but luckily he is an excellent two-way player who should have a great impact.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?