Jaroslav Plašil could scarcely hide his disappointment after the Czech Republic lost 1-0 to Lithuania and slipped to second bottom in Group I of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.
Michal Bílek's side were condemned to defeat in Olomouc courtesy of visiting captain Darvydas Šernas's first-half strike. Scotland's late winner at home to Liechtenstein means it is they that top the section ahead of Spain who, along with the Czechs, have played just once. Craig Levein's team visit Prague on 8 October and Plašil knows the importance of the hosts kick-starting their campaign then.
"Absolutely," said the FC Girondins de Bordeaux midfielder when asked if it is now a must-win fixture. "We all hoped to win this match but the reality is different. We've dropped three points at home right from the off and it's really infuriating. There are seven matches left, but we have to bounce back straightaway in the next game against Scotland."
It was not all doom and gloom for Bílek in his first competitive game in charge. Though Šernas gave Lithuania the lead inside half an hour, it took Žydrūnas Karčemarskas's penalty save from Milan Baroš five minutes before half-time to deny the Czechs a route back into the contest. Plašil, though, feels it was destined not to be their night.
"We could have played for another half an hour and not scored," he said. "We had chances, we had the penalty, but we didn't put any of them in the back of the net. We tried everything, it didn't work, and we're all desperately disappointed. We just lacked the one goal that would have given us a boost. When you don't score, it makes life difficult."
With world and European champions Spain lurking ominously, things are not destined to get any easier in the section. "There are three teams fighting for one place – Scotland, Lithuania and us," added Plašil. "We've lost our first game at home so we have to pick ourselves up and win that second game [against Scotland].
"It's certainly going to be a different kind of game to tonight's – we've played against them recently [a 1-0 friendly defeat in March] so they know how we play and we know how they play. It's going to be up to us to create things and score goals."
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.