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Preview: Czech Republic v Ghana
The Czech Republic seek to continue their impressive start to the World Cup when they meet the Black Stars of Ghana on Saturday in Cologne.
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2006 15:58 GMT
Pavel Nedved: always closely marked
The Czech Republic seek to continue their impressive start to the World Cup when they meet the Black Stars of Ghana on Saturday in Cologne.

The semi finalists of Euro 2004 will go into the match without their two first choice strikers as injury has ruled out both Milan Baros and Jan Koller.

Aston Villa striker Baros has been out since injuring his foot in a warm up game against Trinidad and Tobago, while 33 year old marksman Koller sustained a hamstring injury in his side’s opening 3-0 win against the USA.

While the 24 year old Baros does not seem to be responding to treatment, the diagnosis was better for the Monaco man mountain.

"It's a slight muscular tear," said the scorer of 43 goals in 69 internationals.
 
"I have to rest up till Saturday and then we will see after that.
  
"I should be fully rehabilitated for the second round if we qualify."

The loss of their strikers will put extra creative pressure on the midfield trio of Karel Poborsky, Pavel Nedved and Tomas Rosicky, however judging by their performance against the USA they are more than capable.

The baby of the trio, Rosicky, explained how the loss of the forward pairing should be seen in a positive way.

"It is really sad for Milan and Jan, and before we lost Vladimir  (Smicer, who was ruled out of the tournament before it had begun), but we have to get on with things and we can use it as an extra motivating factor," said the 25-year-old.

Their opponents promise to offer stronger resistance than the Americans with the energetic Ghanians impressing in their opening fixture.

Dujkovic: a man with a well used
passport

Despite the loss, journeyman coach Ratomir Dujkovic was in a confident mood.

"I was proud of my players in the Italy match except for the left back, but he has been replaced for not doing what he was asked to do," said the 60-year-old Serb.

"I think nevertheless that while the Czechs are a strong side we can achieve something against them and then make it into the second round," he added.

If they are to achieve something it is likely to be off the back of their own midfield triumvirate which is made up of Chelsea's Michael Essien, Udinese's Sulley Muntari and captain Stephen Appiah of Fenerbahce.

With Ghana needing to go for the win and the Czech’s knowing no other way to play, it promises to be an entertaining fixture.

Source:
Aljazeera + Agencies
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