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Bruckner plans Portugal's downfall at Euro 2004 after saying his team's skills don't compare

Bruckner plans Portugal's downfall at Euro 2004 after saying his team's skills don't compare

Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner concedes his team can't compete with Portugal's scoring potency ahead of Wednesday's match at the European Championship.
"The Portuguese are better in attack, we have to acknowledge that," Bruckner said Tuesday. "But we have other weapons that could lead to a good result _ that is clever play, creativity, invention, team play. That we don't have such a strong attack as the Portuguese doesn't mean that we're weaker than them."
The Czechs needed an inspired display by goalkeeper Petr Cech to escape from Saturday's Group A match in Basel with a 1-0 win over Switzerland, whereas Portugal beat Turkey 2-0 in Geneva.
Bruckner, who notoriously conceals details of his team and tactics, has already said "some changes in the lineup are likely" to play the Portuguese at Stade Geneve as there was a lack of "invention and creativity in the attack" against the Swiss.
However, Bruckner has limited options to make changes for a match that will guarantee a quarterfinal berth for the winner. With injured playmaker Tomas Rosicky out of Euro 2008, Bruckner played an unusually defensive lineup against Switzerland with Jan Koller alone up front.
Substitute Vaclav Sverkos scored the winning goal Saturday, but he is again expected to be a replacement, perhaps coming on to partner Koller.
"To play alongside Koller would be great," Sverkos said.
As on Saturday, captain Tomas Ujfalusi is expected to be in central defense alongside David Rozehnal, with Zdenek Grygera and Marek Jankulovski the fullbacks, in front of Cech. The Czech defense conceded only five goals in 12 matches during the qualifying campaign.
"We succeeded in the first game and got three points, which boosts our confidence," Ujfalusi said. "I believe that we'll play better than against Switzerland and that we'll win the match."
That leaves only the midfield to change.
With attacking midfielders Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky and Vladimir Smicer all gone, only Tomas Galasek remains from the Euro 2004 squad. And the 35-year-old defensive veteran, who lacks pace, could be rested against the speedy Portuguese.
Bruckner could use Marek Matejovsky in Galasek's place if he opts for a more offensive approach, or use defender Radoslav Kovac as a holding midfielder.
Another option is for Matejovsky to start in Rosicky's playmaking position instead of David Jarolim, who was solid Saturday but lacked creativity. Jan Polak would then have a defensive role, while fleet-footed Libor Sionko on the right and Jaroslav Plasil on the left would support Koller.
Whether any of those proposed changes would help the Czechs remains to be seen, but Bruckner is confident.
"The Portuguese are the favorites of the group, but there's no favorite for tomorrow's match," he said.
Cech is expected to play against three of his Chelsea teammates in the Portuguese squad _ Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho and Jose Bosingwa. He said he talked to Ferreira on Monday and wished him good luck.
"It will be a strange situation _ we've never played against each other," Cech said.


Updated : 2021-04-21 20:23 GMT+08:00