Euro 2008 Czech Republic Vs Switzerland highlights video

Vaclav Sverkos' second-half strike ensured Czech Republic opened their Group A campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over co-hosts Switzerland.

Sverkos struck in the 71st minute after taking advantage of some slack defending, but in truth the much-fancied Czechs struggled to stamp their authority on a match that they were expected to win comfortably.Swiss captain Alexander Frei provided early evidence that the home side were not simply happy to make up the numbers at their own party as he fired a 25-yard shot wide of Petr Cech's upright in the third minute.

They also went close through further long-range shots from Gokhan Inler and attacking full-back Valon Behrami inside the first 20 minutes, but both times the impressive Cech stood firm.The Chelsea keeper saved his best for the 22nd minute when he saved with his legs as a long clearance from goalkeeper Diego Benaglio found Frei and he attempted to stab the ball home from eight yards after ghosting in behind the defence.

Ten minutes later, and with the Czechs slowly gaining the upper-hand, Cech clawed away another shot from distance by dangerman Frei, before Tranquillo Barnetta was flagged offside when attempting to slot home the follow-up.However, the turning point in the match came on the stroke of half-time when Frei twisted his knee and was forced off.

From that moment onwards the Swiss visibly wilted and the Czech Republic slowly took a stranglehold on the match.Disappointing lone striker Jan Koller was substituted on 57 minutes and his departure led to the arrival of eventual match-winner Sverkos.First Libor Sionko should have converted a pinpoint free-kick which found him unmarked, but he failed to get his head to the ball from close range.

Substitute Hakan Yakin missed a similar opportunity at the other end for the home side, before Sverkos struck in decisive fashion just moments later.The Swiss defence half-cleared a corner, but when the ball was sent back over their own heads, it fell to the alert Sverkos and he picked his spot before slipping a low shot past the keeper and into the far corner from 12 yards.

Switzerland refused to throw in the towel and could have been back on level terms nine minutes from full-time when first Barnetta drew a fine save from Cech with a powerful shot from the edge of the box before Johan Vonlanthen smashed the follow-up against the crossbar.In stoppage time they also had a penalty appeal turned down when the ball appeared to strike the arm of Tomas Ujfalusi just inside the box.

But although the Czech Republic were hardly convincing in victory, the home side lacked any real quality in the final third and their participation in the tournament seems unlikely to stretch beyond the group stage.

Vaclav Sverkos Goal

Full Highlights

Petr Cech admits the Czech Republic had some luck against Switzerland

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