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Czech Republic

Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek has taken the first step towards silencing the critics who believed he lacked the experience to rebuild the national side when he took over in 2009.
Charged with qualifying for the Euro 2012 finals after missing the last World Cup, the former international midfielder accomplished his first mission - and now seeks tournament success with a mixture of youngsters and ageing big names.
The Czechs face Russia, Poland and Greece in the Group A with all their matches in Wroclaw, where Bilek hopes to build on the playoff win against Montenegro that catapulted the team into the tournament after they finished well-behind Spain in their qualifying group.
Nonetheless, despite some initial bumps, Bilek ensured that the Czechs kept up their record of qualifying for every Euro tournament since the Czech Republic and Slovakia split in 1993.
Defensively the Czech Republic were sound in qualifying, conceding just eight goals in 10 games, with half of those coming in defeats against Spain. The problems are likely to be at the other end where the Czechs may struggle for creativity.
Bilek will need to inspire the best from long-serving national team regulars such as Chelsea's Petr Cech, Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky (captain – largely responsible for the creativity and success of team), as well as Milan Baros of Galatasaray (Golden Boot winner at Euro 2004).
Also key will be emerging names such as Wolfsburg's Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar of Pilsen, players who grabbed Champions League experience last season with domestic league winners Pilsen.
However, despite their optimism ahead of the tournament, this is not the Czech Republic of old. Gone are the Jan Kollers, Vladimir Smicers and Karol Poborskys, and while they eased past Montenegro in a playoff, this is little more than a competent side which lacks creativity.
That said, they find themselves in the easiest group of all containing Poland, Greece and Russia. The latter will be favorites to progress and it will be a real dogfight as to who joins them. The backing of the home crowd may just ensure Poland move into the next round alongside Russia.