That 3-0 aggregate win ensured that they maintained a record of reaching every European Championship since Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia 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. Coach Michal Bilek will hope that Tomas Rosicky, supplier of both goals in the 2-0 first-leg win over Montenegro, can turn on the style for what is likely to be his last European Championships.
- Best World Cup Result: Group Stage (2006)
- Best European Championship Result: Runners-up (1996)
- Record Scorer: Jan Koller (55 goals from 1999 to 2009)
- Most Capped Player: Karol Poborsky (118 caps from 1994 to 2006)
- Coach: Michal Bílek
- Captain: Tomas Rosicky
23-man Czech Republic Euro 2012 Squad:
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Chelsea), Jaroslav Drobny (Hamburg), Jan Lastuvka (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk).
Defenders: Theodor Gebre Selassie (FC Slovan Liberec), Roman Hubnik (Hertha Berlin), Michal Kadlec (Bayer Leverkusen), David Limbersky (FC Viktoria Plzen), Tomas Sivok (Besiktas), Marek Suchy (Spartak Moskow).
Midfielders: Vladimir Darida (FC Viktoria Plzen), Tomas Hubschman (Shakhtar Donetsk), Petr Jiracek (VfL Wolfsburg), Daniel Kolar (FC Viktoria Plzen), Milan Petrzela (FC Viktoria Plzen), Vaclav Pilar (VfL Wolfsburg), Jaroslav Plasil (Bordeaux), Frantisek Rajtoral (FC Viktoria Plzen), Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal).
Forwards: Milan Baros (Galatasaray), David Lafata (FK Jablonec), Tomas Necid (CSKA Moskow), Tomas Pekhart (FC Nurnberg), Jan Rezek (Anorthosis Famagusta).
The Coach: Michal BílekBílek took over from Ivan Hasek after the failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. An attacking midfielder who scored twice for Czechoslovakia at the 1990 World Cup, Bilek has also coached Sparta Prague.
Player to Watch: Tomas NecidOut for over half a year with a knee injury, the youngster is on the radar of several of Europe’s biggest clubs. The CSKA Moscow striker is a towering presence in attack and with the right service from midfield, will trouble the other defenses in the group.
Group Matches:Friday, June 8, 2012 v Russia (20:45 CET in Wroclaw)
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 v Greece (18:00 CET in Wroclaw)
Saturday, June 16, 2012 v Poland (20:45 CET in Wroclaw)
Prediction: Group StagesThis 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 play-off, 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.