The Czech Republic will have the crowd against them when Poland arrive in Wroclaw for Saturday's crucial Group A encounter, but Michal Bílek says his team will be ready.
Under pressure following his team's opening game defeat to Russia, Michal Bílek's Czech Republic side bounced back strongly to beat Greece in their second Group A encounter. Next are co-hosts Poland in Wroclaw on Saturday when a Czech victory will secure a berth in the knockout stages, and Bílek told UEFA.com he has faith his improving young side can do it.
UEFA.com: You were criticised after the match with Russia. How did you feel after the match with Greece?
Michal Bílek: We were under a lot of pressure after the match with Russia. We did not play well, and we knew that we would be eliminated if we lost against Greece. I'm happy we played well in that match. The first half was very good. We scored twice. If we had not made that mistake in the second half, when the Greeks scored and made it 2-1, we would have been in control of the game till the end. The second half was a bit nervous. Nevertheless, we played very well, at least in the first half, and are very happy with our three points.
UEFA.com: It is not certain whether Tomáš Rosický will play against Poland. If he is injured, what will you miss most? His creativity? His leadership?
Bílek: Tomáš is our key player. The team is more confident with him in it, because he is able to manage and lead the team. He is a great attacking midfielder. He is good in bringing others into the game and in possession of the ball. It would be difficult without him, but injuries are part of the game and if he can't play we will have to replace him.
UEFA.com: There are a lot of young players in your team. How does it feel to work with a squad so full of young talent?
Bílek: I'm happy the team was ready by the end of qualifying, because there was a kind of exchange of generations. We'd searched for the right team for two years and we found it at the end of the qualifiers. I'm happy this team managed to get to the EURO. We have a lot of new players, they fit well into the team and it's a good thing for our football.
UEFA.com: What did you learn about the team during the match with Greece, especially about the new players who do not have that much experience in such difficult matches?
Bílek: [Václav] Pilař scored, he has not played that many times. David Limberský also came in late to the national team, at the end of qualifying. He only played in the [friendly] match with [the Republic of] Ireland, nevertheless he played really well. We have young players, some are new but they are really strong and they manage to play in very difficult matches.
UEFA.com: You have a lot of support from your fans. How decisive will this support be in the next match?
Bílek: The support during the match with Greece was fantastic, there were a lot of fans. However, Poland will be different because we will be playing against the home team. Their fans will dictate the atmosphere and we need to be prepared for that. They will really support their team, and that will make it more difficult for us.
UEFA.com: Poland are a good team, but they haven't won any of their matches yet. What are their strengths and how can they be countered?
Bílek: They have drawn twice, and I believe they won't win the third game either! It would be the end for us. It is a team with good players, especially from Borussia Dortmund, such as Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski. They are key players and good at set pieces. It's a balanced team, their reserve goalkeeper is also good.
UEFA.com: It is likely a draw will be enough for you against Poland. How does that affect your approach to the match?
Bílek: We don't yet know is a draw is OK for us. It also depends on the Russia-Greece match. If the Greeks win, they will have a chance of going through to the quarter-finals. We are ready for this match. I hope we win this one too like we did against Greece. I hope we don't leave ourselves open and let the other team score.
UEFA.com: What do you think of Theodor Gebre Selassie; could he become one of the world's best players?
Bílek: I do not know whether he could be the best on the planet, but he came to our team late and he has played well in every game. He has done a good job in attack and also in defence. I hope he is going to continue like this.