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Petr Cech leads Czechs to victory over Switzerland at Euro 2008

Petr Cech leads Czechs to victory over Switzerland at Euro 2008

When it comes to saving his country, it was business as usual for Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech on Saturday.
The Czechs had a lucky 1-0 win over co-host Switzerland in the European Championship's opening game, and Cech was one of the few to emerge with credit from the underperforming visiting team.
The Swiss outplayed the more experienced and favored Czechs for large parts of the Group A match, putting them under pressure and forcing Cech to show why he is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Czech made his first world-class save in the 21st minute.
A long kick from Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio was collected in the Czech area by Alexander Frei, who eluded the entire defense to have only Cech to beat. But the goalkeeper rushed off his line to deny the Swiss team's all-time leading scorer with a quality save using his feet.
"That was my most important save," Cech said. "It was 0-0 at the moment and as it turned out, the only goal we scored was the decider. If they had scored, it would have been a different match."
It was not the last time the two players came together at St. Jakob Park.
In the 36th minute, the Swiss team got the ball after a mistake by Tomas Galasek in the middle of the field and Frei had a long-range attempt on target _ but Cech was ready, saving his swerving drive.
The 26-year-old Chelsea goalkeeper was also in the right place in the 80th, when the home team went on all-out attack. He blocked Tranquillo Barnetta's low shot after captain Tomas Ujfalusi appeared to handle the ball in the area. Johan Vonlanthen got the loose ball, but his shot hit the crossbar and the danger was cleared.
"It was the worst moment for me, " Cech said. "The shot was a little bit deflected by (defender) David Rozehnal and I blocked the ball at the very last moment.
"We were a bit lucky."
The Czechs are lucky they have Cech as a last line of defense.
"We know full well who is behind us," Ujfalusi said. "He's one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he keeps proving it in every game."
In Cech's 60 internationals, the Czechs are now unbeaten in 49 of them. But the goalkeeper knows that statistic will drop unless the team improves in its following games against Portugal and Turkey.
"We didn't play our best but we know that, we know that we didn't play 100 percent," he said. "It's a good sign if we win a game even if we don't play well."