Cech prepared for possible shoot-out

CZECH Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech has had some recent practice if tomorrow’s Group A decider (7.45pm) against Turkey finishes in a penalty shoot-out.

The new regulation will be used if there are two teams playing each other in the final group game and a third country is not involved. UEFA have stated spot-kicks will be taken after 90 minutes if they are level on points, goal difference and goals scored — meaning tomorrow’s match could be the first time a shoot-out has featured at the group stage of a major tournament.

Cech could only stop one spot-kick as Chelsea lost the Champions League final to Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out last month. Now, the Czechs and Turks play in Geneva for a quarter-final berth with the same points and goal difference, meaning it will end in spot-kicks if they draw.

“It’s better than a toss of a coin,” Cech said of penalties. “We have it all in our hands. I believe that penalties won’t have to take place at all and we’ll beat Turkey. It would be a tricky thing to play for a draw. Everything is at stake.

“I’m an optimist and believe we belong to the best eight teams. The team’s performance is on the rise and we’ll play our best.”

Coach Karel Bruckner said: “We’ll be training for a possible penalty shoot-out, but that’s not our major concern. Our goal is to play well and win.”

The Czechs beat Switzerland 1-0 in their Euro 2008 opener before losing 3-1 to Portugal, while Turkey lost 2-0 to the Portuguese and then rallied to win 2-1 over the Swiss.

Czech Republic captain Tomas Ujfalusi agreed that his team should defeat the Turks.

“This team is strong enough to beat Turkey,” he said. “We had been fighting for two years to qualify for the Euro. We just can’t go home after the group phase. I can’t accept that.”

Meanwhile, Turkey coach Fatih Terim says his side’s 2-1 victory over co-hosts Switzerland has given them the confidence boost needed to qualify for the quarter-finals. The three points carried our hopes to the last group game. We are still in the competition. That’s important,” he said.


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