European Championship

June 15, 2004

Full-time

Czech Republic

2 - 1

Latvia

Group D

16:00 +00:00, June 15, 2004

Estadio Municipal de Aveiro

Referee: Gilles Veissiere

  • 90'

    And that's it: despite a brave and determined effort from Latvia, the Czech Republic - just - open their Euro 2004 campaign with a victory. 2-1 it finishes, but it was nowhere near the stroll many had predicted

  • 90'

    From it, the Czechs get a corner. No hurry to take this one, which eventually leads to another as Heinz is thwarted inside the area

  • 90'

    Rubins brings down Heinz inside the Czech half. Free-kick, and there are only seconds remaining now

  • 90'

    ...it's well hit, but close enough to Petr Cech for him to save it and hold on

  • 90'

    Late Latvian substitution - striker Rimkovs on for Lobanovs. A last-ditch cross is headed away, and Asafjevs makes space for a shot...

  • 89'

    Not long left now for the Czechs to hang on for a win that, for so long, seemed as though it wasn't going to happen. Latvia have done superbly, and so nearly hung on for a draw...

  • 88'

    Good movement down the right from the Czechs, and Podborsky crosses to Smicer, who can only bundle the ball over the bar

  • 87'

    In the end, the free-kick lands straight in the grateful Cech's arms

  • 86'

    Free-kick to Latvis from the restart, halfway inside the Czech half. Before it can be taken, Milan Baros, scorer of the Czech equaliser, goes off for Martin Jiranek

  • 85'

    ...he takes one touch to control, and then fires the ball into the top corner. The Czechs have turned it around to lead 2-1!

  • 85'

    Latvia get into all sorts of confusion inside their own penalty area, and the ball reaches Heinz on the edge of the box...

  • 84'

    Pahars looks to have found space on the right - not for long, though, as an offside flag stops him in his tracks

  • 83'

    Back to the other end - Heinz hits an excellent shot from outside the area, and it clips the top of the bar on its way over. Couldn't get much closer

  • 82'

    Petr Cech comes a long way to meet him, and Pahars is penalised for handball when - just for a second - it looked as though he had got away with play going on

  • 81'

    ...he can't control the ball, and it goes out. Marian Pahars comes on, and Verpakovskis makes way. Soon, Pahars is chasing into the Czech half...

  • 80'

    Heinz plays the ball into the area - it's half-cleared and Podborsky is waiting...

  • 79'

    Rosicky is sent crashing inside his own half - the free-kick is fed out to Smicer, but good closing down by Latvia ends the danger for now

  • 78'

    Now it's a Czech free-kick, Heinz held inside the centre circle. It comes to nothing, however

  • 77'

    A rare Latvian foray forward gives them the chance to attack the right side of the Czech defence - it breaks down, but Stepanovs is there. Not for the first time

  • 76'

    Nedved races down the right and crosses for Smicer, who steers his header into the side netting

  • 75'

    Smicer gets the ball to Nedved, whose cross is disappointing and is cleared by Rubins. Suddenly, Latvia face a long, long last 15 minutes. Can they hold on for a point?

  • 74'

    Forward come the Czechs again - substitute Heinz gets a shot in, which is deflected over the top for a corner...

  • 73'

    ...he takes the ball down and, this time, gets his close-range effort on target. Undisguised relief for the Czechs - it's 1-1

  • 73'

    Podborsky gets to the byline ... he just about gets a cross in after some great control. Kolinko can't get there, and Baros is lurking...

  • 72'

    That's a move that could result in even more frustration for the Czechs

  • 71'

    Latvian change - Juris Laizans, a midfielder, is on for the dangerous Prohorenkovs

  • 70'

    ...it comes out to Nedved, who fires in a stunning shot. Kolinko meets it with an equally stunning save, tipping the ball away at full stretch

  • 70'

    Seconds later, Verpakovskis is only narrowly off-target with a fierce drive from the edge of the area. The Czechs break to win a corner...

  • 69'

    ...Verpakovskis is on the prowl again, but this time the Czechs - increasingly committed to attack - crowd him out

  • 68'

    Blagonadezdins does well to thwart Podborsky inside the area, and here come Latvia...

  • 67'

    Nedved crosses for Koller, but the big striker can't get anything on target. Czech frustration is mounting, and even all the good beer in the world won't be of any comfort to those fans watching back home

  • 66'

    Prohorenkovs gets free down the left, but balloons a poor cross when he had the time and space to have done something better

  • 65'

    Vladimir Smicer is on, with Tomas Galasek making way. Koller tries a volley from outside the area, which is well struck, but too close to Kolinko

  • 64'

    ...unbelievably, he prods the ball wide. The best Czech chance of the game goes begging

  • 64'

    Podborsky crosses, Koller can't get there, but Baros is all alone six yards out...

  • 63'

    It's hard to see what the Czechs can do to escape from their rut - Latvia have looked unlikely to even threaten since the break but, as long as they remain comfortable in defence, they won't mind that

  • 62'

    ...he takes the ball on his chest, but blazes the effort over the bar

  • 61'

    Podborsky looks for Baros inside the area - it's a good run...

  • 60'

    Latvia try to get the ball forward down the left, but it curves into the path of Cech, who collects under no pressure

  • 59'

    Another Podborsky cross - and another desperate one. It drifts out of play and, even with half an hour still to go, it's hard to see the Czechs equalising if things continue like this

  • 58'

    Podborsky then tries a chip into the area - easy as can be for Kolinko. It's got to be better than that...

  • 57'

    It's cleared, and hammered back in by Podborksy from distance. It's a fantastic shot, but it comes back off the outside of the post

  • 57'

    ... and he'll be replacing defender Zdenek Grygera. The Czechs win another corner...

  • 56'

    Still few signs of the Czechs springing to life, so they're making a change - striker Marek Heinz is coming on...

  • 55'

    Corner to the Czechs - Nedved and Rosicki try to work it short, but the former crosses too long and sees the ball float out for a goal-kick

  • 54'

    ...Nedved tries a shot, which is deflected and stopped by Kolinko

  • 53'

    Verpakovskis makes a nuisance of himself down the right - but the Czechs break forward...

  • 52'

    Nedved's chasing around in midfield - he, in particular, needs to try to find something to lift his team's game

  • 51'

    Podborsky crosses - straight at Kolinko. In the middle of all that, Zemlinskis has gone down in some pain, and gets gingerly to his feet ... he should be OK to carry on

  • 51'

    Jankulovski gets into the area down the left and crosses low - it's cleared, and the Czechs are still struggling to look genuinely dangerous...

  • 50'

    Baros gets the ball 30 yards out and has a go - the superb Stepanovs is there again, producing yet another effective block

  • 49'

    Rubins looks for Verpakovskis inside the area - but that's Cech's ball all the way

  • 48'

    Koller finds Nedved, who falls on the edge of the area - no free-kick, says the referee

  • 47'

    Verpakovskis, Latvia's hero of the hour, gets the ball on halfway but can't do anything with it

  • 46'

    They win a throw midway inside the Latvia half - Nedved flicks towards Koller, but the giant striker can't get on the end of that one

  • 46'

    The Czechs get the second half under way - surely they can't produce the same levels of inertia in the second half as they did over the latter stages of the first

  • 45'

    The half-time whistle goes, and Latvia leave the pitch with a lead that nobody - but nobody - could have predicted. 1-0 to them at the break

  • 45'

    A stunning blow for the Czechs, who have struggled to live up to their billing as one of the tournament favourites so far

  • 45'

    It's a great pass, and a great cross - Verpakovskis turns it into the net and Latvia, astonishingly, have the lead here!

  • 45'

    Latvia get a corner and make a mess of it - Baros takes it on, but Stepanovs beats him and finds Prohorenkovs down the left...

  • 44'

    Stepanovs makes a fine block as a mistake by Rubins allows Poborsky to whip an effort goalwards - the Latvia defender is having an excellent game

  • 43'

    Free-kick to the Czechs in midfield - Rosicky gathers possession. Can the Czechs find a late flurry?

  • 42'

    Meanwhile, Latvia are beginning to enjoy themselves - they're putting some neat moves together in midfield

  • 41'

    Long ball down the middle from the Latvians - good jump by Bolf for the Czechs. The purpose has gone out of the favourites, who will probably be quite glad to take a break

  • 40'

    Nedved tries to stab the ball out wide, but Latvia deal with that and then move forward into midfield and win a free-kick thanks to a foul by Tomas Galusek

  • 39'

    At the other end, a deep cross finds Koller offside, and there are growing signs that the Czechs need to find one or two more intelligent attacking ideas

  • 38'

    ...Rubins swirls the ball in, but it's too high for the striker

  • 37'

    Rubins is on the attack once again, and again Verpakovskis is the man in the middle...

  • 36'

    Galasek tries a long-ranger, but it's dragged woefully wide to sum up current Czech frustrations. Prague's superlative bars may well be full of people feeling that their team should be doing a bit more than they currently are

  • 35'

    The more this game has gone on, the more Latvia are beginning to lose that over-awed look, and the crisper their challenges have become

  • 34'

    He's sharp out of the blocks again when a misjudgment looks to have let Koller through, swiping the ball out of harm's way

  • 33'

    Good confidence from Kolinko, who steams off his line to gather a cross

  • 32'

    Baros runs at the Latvian defence, but is crowded out and then Latvia come forward via sweeping long ball, which is flicked across goal and gathered by Cech

  • 31'

    Nedved, seemingly hemmed in on the left, finds space to cross ... Podborsky tries to play the ball back in, but it's too long and goes out for a goal kick

  • 30'

    Rubins plays a teasing cross in, aiming for Prohorenkovs but - narrowly - failing to find him

  • 29'

    ...but Koller can't make anything of the attempted pass to him

  • 28'

    Astafjevs almost trips over his own feet for Latvia as he tries to move down the right - the Czechs move forward once more...

  • 27'

    That comes to nothing - but, once again, Latvia lose possession cheaply. Bolf tries to find Koller, but he can't find a colleague

  • 26'

    Latvia are making life tough for themselves in midfield by giving the ball away much too easily. Nedved takes advantage to have a go at goal, and it's blocked for a corner

  • 25'

    At the other end, Bolf is adjudged to have conceded a corner. He looks astonished by the decision, but needn't worry as Petr Cech claims confidently

  • 24'

    Great run by Podborsky, carving his way through from halfway after a neat Koller touch. He unleashes a long-range effort, which skims the roof of the net - great strike

  • 24'

    ...he hits it all wrong, and the wall does its job with a minimum of fuss

  • 23'

    Jankulovski is fouled seconds later, in a central position not far outside the Latvian area. Surely one for Nedved to have a go at...

  • 22'

    Czech free-kick, on the right of the Latvia area. It's in by Podborsky, and out by Bleidelis

  • 22'

    ...Zemlinskis clears, and Latvia are beginning to look a little more settled in defence

  • 21'

    Corner to the Czechs, which Nedved is masterminding...

  • 21'

    Rosicky makes a busy run along the edge of the Latvian penalty area, firing in a powerful shot which Kolinko stops well

  • 20'

    Nothing comes of that, however. Podborsky tries another cross for the Czechs, which produces another firm clearing header in the Latvian penalty area

  • 19'

    ...and the Czech defence scrambles it away for a Latvian throw

  • 19'

    Verpakovskis looks lively for Latvia, and earns his side a dangerous free-kick on the right of the area. Rubins takes...

  • 18'

    At the other end, Rubins attacks a cross on the edge of the Czech area, but his attempted header is neither flick on nor effort on goal, and Cech gets there easily

  • 17'

    Podborksy tries another cross, which falls to Rosicky on the edge of the area. he slices his effort harmlessly wide

  • 16'

    Podborsky runs on, and clips a cross in from the left. Latvia clear, and it's a corner...

  • 15'

    The Czechs are soon back in possession, though, switching the ball from left to right in midfield

  • 14'

    Better from Latvia, who used their wide players intelligently and nearly earned an unexpected reward

  • 13'

    Rubins tries to sweep in a cross from the Latvia left, but it's cleared. Back they come, and Verpakovskis only just fails to get on the end of a teasing cross from the opposite flank

  • 12'

    Baros is having a good game - he finds Nedved, who nearly finds Koller at the far post, but keeper Kolinko gets a crucial touch to divert the ball away from the number nine

  • 11'

    Plenty of early attacking intent from the Czech Republic, but Latvia are holding firm at the back so far

  • 10'

    Nedved hits a shot from the edge of the area - Stepanovs is there to block. Nedved then finds Jankulovski who, seven yards out at an angle, can only bend his effort wide

  • 9'

    ...and Podborsky's attempted cross is cleared. Koller tries another flick when the ball is played back in, but nobody's anywhere near getting on the end of that

  • 8'

    Podborsky looks for the giant figure of Koller - Stepanovs puts it away for a corner...

  • 7'

    Forward come this game's red-hot favourites - Baros finds some space towards the edge of the Latvian area, but his effort is dragged harmlessly wide of the far post

  • 7'

    The Czechs clear the corner with almost disadainful ease - but the cross that earned it was a good one, and an encouraging moment for Latvia

  • 6'

    Prohorenskovs tries to flip a ball into the Czech penalty area - it's cleared, but when it comes back in from the same player, Jankulovski has to put it behind for a corner

  • 5'

    Grygera finds Podborsky again - same side of the pitch, same intent to cross - but he overruns it and the ball's behind for a goal-kick to Latvia

  • 4'

    Baros finds Podborski, wide on the right. He crosses towards Nedved, but the Juve midfielder won't get to that one

  • 3'

    Verpakouskis is fouled by Tomas Vjifalusi, but the free-kick - taken from midway inside the Czech half - poses no problems whatseoever for Petr Cech

  • 2'

    Latvia's Imants Bleidelis tries an optimistic shot, but it flies harmlessly out of harm's way

  • 1'

    A couple of very early warning shots from the Czech Republic, who were so impressive in qualifying

  •  

    He plays a cross in towards the far post, but it's a little too long. From the goal-kick, the Czechs move the ball through to Baros, but the flag is up

  •  

    The Latvians get the game under way, and play an early long ball forward - it's cleared and Czech superstar Nedved is in possession...

  •  

    Latvia are only minutes away from kick-off in a fixture few would have expected them to even have reached ... how will they cope against one of the tournament favourites?