Euro 2004: Germany's do-or-die match

22nd June 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 June 2004 , LISBON - Struggling Germany will rather want to think eight years back than at Euro 2000 as they approach their do-or-die match with the Czech Republic at Euro 2004 on Wednesday. Back in 1996 in England, they beat the Czechs 2-0 in the group stage and again 2-1 in the final to lift the trophy for the third and so far last time. Four years ago they crashed out winless after being hammered 3-0 by a Portugal team which - like the Czechs will this time around - rested several stars after already

22 June 2004

LISBON - Struggling Germany will rather want to think eight years back than at Euro 2000 as they approach their do-or-die match with the Czech Republic at Euro 2004 on Wednesday.

Back in 1996 in England, they beat the Czechs 2-0 in the group stage and again 2-1 in the final to lift the trophy for the third and so far last time.

Four years ago they crashed out winless after being hammered 3-0 by a Portugal team which - like the Czechs will this time around - rested several stars after already being assured of a quarter-final berth.

But captain Oliver Kahn insisted: "The situation was completely different four years ago. It is a ridiculous comparison."

"I am not thinking about elimination," he added.

The 2004 team may be better on paper, but Germany are yet to win in Portugal, coming off an impressive 1-1 against the Netherlands and a woeful 0-0 against newcomers Latvia.

But the Germans will have to rely on hope above all as coach Rudi Voeller has no miracle man to pull out of his hat like Berti Vogts did in the 1996 decider in the form of two-goal hero Oliver Bierhoff.

Apart from Kevin Kuranyi all of his strikers flopped against Latvia, which forced Voeller to return to a lineup with a lone forward (Kuranyi) and Michael Ballack as attacking midfielder on Wednesday in Lisbon.

Voeller may field teenager Bastian Schweinsteiger in the starting 11 for more offensive power, but said he is highly unlikely to present the 18-year-old striker talent Lukas Podolski as well.

"Lukas is a huge talent and here to learn. Let's wait and see whether he will play at Euro," said Voeller.

Germany are likely in a must-win situation as they can not bank on Latvia earning another draw against the Dutch which would see them through with a draw of their own - possibly even a defeat.

"We know that we will have to win our match," said Voeller.

The Czechs, for their part, are not ready to hand over the three points after their 2-1 win over Latvia and a memorable 3-2 comeback victory over the Dutch.

"All players will give it all they have. After all, we are at a European championship and playing against Germany. It's about prestige," said striker Jan Koller, who plays in Germany at Borussia Dortmund.

Czech coach Karel Bruckner has so far only said that he will rest superstar Pavel Nedved, but Koller, Tomas Galasek, Zdenek Grygera and Karel Poborsky are also candidates for the bench.

"There will be no completely new starting lineup," said Roman Tyce, who is likely to be a new face in the Czechs' midfield.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

 

 

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