Rozenhal keen to rain on Swiss parade

8. června 2008 v 17:15 | by Ian Holyman from Seefeld |  English-Deutsch news
David Rozehnal said that the passionate atmosphere expected in Basel for the Czech Republic's game with Switzerland on Saturday could work against the co-hosts.

'50-50'
The majority of the 42,500-capacity crowd at St. Jakob-Park for the opening game of UEFA EURO 2008™ will be supporting the home side, and while acknowledging the help it could give their opponents, Rozehnal believes the weight of expectation could prove too big a burden to bear. "It could be bad for us. They're playing at home, in front of their own supporters, and the stadium will be full," said Rozehnal. "But it could also work in our favour, because they could, perhaps not be scared, but be nervous. It will be 50-50, with hopefully a good result for us at the end of the match."
Turbulent season
The tournament comes as a refreshing change for Rozehnal who has endured a turbulent season on the club front. Having fallen out of favour with Newcastle United FC's new boss, Kevin Keegan, the 27-year-old was loaned to S.S. Lazio last January, although the Rome club are yet to decide whether they will make the switch permanent. However, the former Paris Saint-Germain FC player has never lost the confidence of Czech coach Karel Brückner, playing all but 45 minutes of the qualifying campaign as the Czechs topped their group to clinch a place in Austria and Switzerland.
Defence key
The 12 qualifying matches saw the Czechs leak just five goals, the joint-best record along with France and the Netherlands, and Rozehnal acknowledged the back four and goalkeeper Petr Čech will play a key role in the competition. "If we don't concede, we just need to score once and we'll take three points," said Rozehnal, who should start the match against the Swiss in central defence alongside captain Tomáš Ujfaluši. "We did make some mistakes [in qualifying], but hopefully, with good defence from the whole team and the best goalkeeper in the world, we can win."
'Good memories'
The game in Basel has particular resonance for Rozehnal as the city provided the stage on which he and six other members of the current squad - Čech, Zdeněk Grygera, Radoslav Kováč, Jan Polák, Rudolf Skácel and Milan Baroš - won the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2002, with Čech proving decisive against France in a penalty shoot-out. "My memories are very good of Basel," the former Club Brugge KV man added. "And hopefully after Saturday's game I will still have only good memories."
 


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