Euro 2008 kicks off on Saturday with the match between co-hosts Switzerland and 2004 revelations the Czech Republic.
At 6pm local time in Basel, Switzerland, referee Roberto Rosetti will make a start to this year’s edition of Europe’s most important sports event.
Switzerland will aim to surprise the home crowd and the world with a positive result against the Czechs, who were so convincing in 2004 but received the knock-out from the Greeks in the semi finals.
The last week hasn’t been without problems for the Swiss. One of the star players, Tranquillo Barnetta had been struggling with an ankle injury but was declared fit on Thursday.
Another doubt was central defender Patrick Muller, but he as well was judged fit enough to make an appearance in Saturday’s game.
Although the Czech Republic are now without top players as Jan Koller, Pavel Nedved and Tomas Rosicky, manager Karel Bruckner is convinced that his side is as strong as it was four years ago.
The Czechs will have to do without Zdenek Pospech, who was struck by the flu earlier this week and is expected to stay at the base in Austria. He is expected to be replaced with Zdenek Grygera.
The overall expectation is that this match could go either way, with the Czechs being the stronger side but Switzerland having the home advantage.
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