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Koller double gives Czechs Euro bounce

SoccerNews in European Championships 28 May 2008

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A double from seasoned striker Jan Koller gave the Czech Republic a morale boosting 2-0 victory over Lithuania in a Euro 2008 warm-up match here on Tuesday.

The lanky 35-year-old took his tally to 54 goals in 85 internationals to fully support the opinion of Czech journalists that everything goes through Koller according to the dictum of coach Karel Bruckner.

Koller popped up right on time to douse the boos of the crowd, at the inappropriately named Eden Stadium given the quality of football, in the 40th minute as he headed home Juventus defender Zdenek Grygera's cross.

The Czechs – who made the semi-finals in the 2004 edition – missed a plethora of chances early in the second-half through Stanislav Vlcek, Jaroslav Plasil and Vaclav Sverkos.

However, Koller saved their blushes as he rifled home a low shot just after the hour mark after playing a delightful 1-2 with Sverkos.

The Czechs play their final warm-up match against Scotland, who came agonisingly close to qualifying for the finals, on Friday in Prague, before alighting for their base camp in Seefeld, Austria.

They are in Group A and begin their campaign against co-hosts Switzerland on June 7 before facing 2004 finalists Portugal on June 11 and round off their first round fixtures against 2002 World Cup semi-finalists Turkey on June 15.

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