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'Leader' Jiráček praises Czech effort

Published: Saturday 16 June 2012, 22.00CET
Czech Republic match winner Petr Jiráček was chosen as the Carlsberg Man of the Match, and said: "It's a great feeling, of course, but I'm glad we handled the game as a team."

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Published: Saturday 16 June 2012, 22.00CET

'Leader' Jiráček praises Czech effort

Czech Republic match winner Petr Jiráček was chosen as the Carlsberg Man of the Match, and said: "It's a great feeling, of course, but I'm glad we handled the game as a team."

Czech Republic midfielder Petr Jiráček was chosen as the Carlsberg Man of the Match after scoring the goal that booked the Czech Republic's place in the quarter-finals. Presenting him with the award, former French international Patrick Vieira said Jiráček was the "heart of the team" in their 1-0 win against Poland in Wroclaw.

"It was an outstanding performance by Petr," said Vieira. "Not just because of the important goal he scored but because he was also the heart of the team. He gave energy to the team when they needed it. He acted like a leader and showed his experience by keeping the ball at vital times during the game."

Accepting the prize, the VfL Wolfsburg player was quick to share the glory with his team-mates. However, like his colleagues, he was surprised by the dramatic turnaround they produced in Group A which started with a heavy 4-1 defeat against Russia, but ended up with qualification as section winners along with runners-up Greece.

"It's a great feeling, of course, but I'm glad we handled the game as a team," said Jiráček. "If anyone else had scored it wouldn't have made any difference. The important thing for us was to qualify, and we've managed to do it.

"We went into the match knowing that a draw would be enough, but during the break we found out that Russia were losing, so we needed to win," he added. "I think that in the second half we had the upper hand all the way, and even though we were very lucky in the last minute when we managed to head the ball off our line, I think we deserved to qualify."

Last updated: 25/09/14 5.42CET

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