The official website for European football

Czech Republic set on clinching play-off spot

Published: Sunday 9 October 2011, 13.04CET
The Czech Republic may no longer control their own destiny, but striker Tomáš Pekhart says they "can accept nothing but victory" in Lithuania as they aim to secure a play-off berth.
by Ian Holyman
from Prague
Czech Republic set on clinching play-off spot
Petr Jiráček vies with Gerard Piqué during Friday's loss to Spain ©Getty Images
Published: Sunday 9 October 2011, 13.04CET

Czech Republic set on clinching play-off spot

The Czech Republic may no longer control their own destiny, but striker Tomáš Pekhart says they "can accept nothing but victory" in Lithuania as they aim to secure a play-off berth.

Their UEFA EURO 2012 destiny may no longer be in their own hands ahead of Tuesday's Group I climax, but the Czech Republic remain optimistic they can keep alive their dream of reaching next summer's finals.

A 2-0 defeat by already-qualified Spain in Prague on Friday meant Michal Bílek's squad handed the initiative to Scotland, who moved into the play-off spot with a 1-0 win in Liechtenstein that leaves them a point ahead. Though the momentum is now with Craig Levein's side, who have to negotiate a daunting final game in Spain, Tomáš Pekhart told UEFA.com that the Czech Republic are far from resigned to their fate ahead of their trip to Lithuania.

"We have to concentrate on ourselves," said the 1. FC Nürnberg striker, who came off the bench against Spain. "We simply have to win in Lithuania. We're looking forward to the game and we can accept nothing but victory. We were hoping to get something from the Spain game, but that didn't happen. If we want to go through, then we have to win against Lithuania."

Victory would not be enough, however, should Scotland manage to end Spain's remarkable run of successive victories in competitive fixtures, a series which was extended to 13 thanks to Juan Mata and Xabi Alonso's first-half goals in the Czech capital.

"Spain are amazing," defender Tomáš Sivok explained to UEFA.com following the defeat. "We know their quality. They have a lot of it. We didn't have a chance to get anything from the game. We had to play at 150% and have some good luck. That's all you can do. If you want to play open football with this team, you don't stand a chance."

Sivok and Co will harbour more hope of being able to showcase their talents in Kaunas against a Lithuania team that has not won in five qualifiers since beating the Czech Republic 1-0 in September 2010. "It was the start of qualifying," said Pekhart. "We missed a penalty and they scored on the break. They were a bit lucky. We have quality. We didn't show it against Spain, but it's almost a different sport when you play against them. We hope that we'll do better in Lithuania, win the game, and stay in the competition."

Last updated: 11/10/11 11.48CET

Related information

Player profiles
Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=1694516.html#czech+republic+clinching+play+spot

UEFA.com features

The Women's U19 finals in photos
  • The Women's U19 finals in photos
  • Serbia aim to take final step
  • Concentration key to Germany progress
  • See the pick of the pictures from matchday three
  • Nemanja Maksimović: Serbia's man of many parts
  • Drogba's greatest UEFA Champions League hits
  • Ireland's semi-final adventure: behind the scenes
  • Israel travails no problem for Peretz
  • Brahimi following in Madjer's Porto footsteps
  • Trenčín winger Simon commanding attention
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.