Football: CZECH MATE; WORLD CUP 2006 Keeper Petr Can't Wait to Put One over Chelsea Pal Essien CZECH REPUBLIC V GHANA Today, 5pm

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), June 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

Football: CZECH MATE; WORLD CUP 2006 Keeper Petr Can't Wait to Put One over Chelsea Pal Essien CZECH REPUBLIC V GHANA Today, 5pm


PETR CECH reckons playing for Chelsea has taught him to fear no one.

The Czech Republic keeper will line up against Ghana and isn't fazed by the prospect of coming face to face with Stamford Bridge teammate Michael Essien.

Two of Chelsea title-winning heroes lock horns in Cologne tomorrow when the Czechs attempt to clinch qualification at the expense of Essien's Ghana.

A 3-0 demolition of USA on the day Ghana were beaten 2-0 by Italy has put the European teams firmly in control of Group E and 24-yearold Cech is determined to keep it that way.

He said: "The last three years have given me enough experience to play in the World Cup. I play for Chelsea where there is a lot of pressure on my shoulders so it has been a good schooling to come to Germany.

"You have to have a strong mentality to succeed and playing at Chelsea has given me this. I am not afraid of anyone in the Ghana team. I have a big respect for them as they have some very big players but I am not afraid of anyone."

The victory over the Americans, which featured a sparkling two-goal performance from new Arsenal recruit Tomas Rosicky, came at a cost however as striker Jan Koller joined Aston Villa's Milan Baros on the treatment table after damaging a hamstring early on.

Speculation about the duo's earliest return is an obsession of the Czech football writers with estimates ranging from a place on the bench tomorrow to after the tournament.

But coach Karel Bruckner was extremely reluctant to shed any light on the matter apart from confirming he had already decided on his starting line-up which was also a secret.

He did however predict a more testing evening against the Black Stars than the first game.

Bruckner said: "This will be more difficult because Ghana have three very good midfielders and I expect there will be a tougher test for our defence."

With Baros and Koller absent the door has opened for Vratislav Lokvenc to take up one of the striking positions and the 32-yearold, who plays his club football in Austria with Salzburg, is an experienced campaigner with more than 70 caps to his name.

Only Pavel Nedved, the 33-yearold Juventus midfielder, and former Manchester United man Karel Poborsky, who is a year older, have more and this is likely to be the duo's final chance to win a major tournament, with the Czechs having come close in Euro 2004 by reaching the semi-finals in Portugal. …

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