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We are as strong as 2004, claims Bruckner

SoccerNews in European Championships 4 Jun 2008

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The Czech Republic squad for Euro 2008 is as strong as the one that reached the semi-finals in the 2004 edition claimed their veteran coach Karel Bruckner on Wednesday.

The 68-year-old, who cancelled Tuesday's press conference because he was taken ill partly as a result of a recent back operation, added that the squad had prepared as well for this Euro than the previous one, where their flowing football won many admirers but they lost on a silver goal to the more pragmatic Greeks.

“Our team is not weaker than the one in Portugal in 2004,” said Bruckner, who will step down after the tournament.

“We have prepared really well,” added Bruckner, whose target is at least to reach the last eight.

The Czechs, who have since 2004 lost the talents of Karel Poborsky and Pavel Nedved and for these finals injured playmaker Tomas Rosicky, open their campaign against co-hosts Switzerland in Basel on Saturday, then take on Euro 2004 finalists Portugal in Geneva on June 11 and round off the group stage with Turkey, also in Geneva, on June 15.

The Czechs, who as Czechoslovakia won the 1976 European championships, enjoyed an excellent qualifying tournament finishing top of a group that included Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia.

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