Czech Republic 4-0 Turkey
The Czech Republic continued their fine run of form with a comfortable 4-0 friendly victory against Turkey, the side that finished third in last year's FIFA World Cup.
With all four goals coming in the first half, the home side in Teplice, unbeaten in their previous 13 games, were never in trouble - an impressive performance considering they were without captain Pavel Nedved and Turkey were able to call on Rüstü Recber, voted the No1 goalkeeper in uefa.com's Team of the Year for 2002.
Turkish coach Senol Günes named what was close to a full-strength side, with Hakan Sükür starting in attack despite reports that he had suffered a broken toe. Nedved, meanwhile, was left out by Czech coach Karel Brückner due to the Juventus FC midfield player's heavy club schedule in the UEFA Champions League and Serie A.
However, Nedved's absence did not worry the Czechs, and within 75 seconds they were ahead when Jan Koller pulled the ball back into the path of his BV Borussia Dortmund team-mate Tomáš Rosický, who made no mistake. Five minutes later Rüstü was forced to make an excellent save from a Milan Baroš solo effort, but he was beaten in the 20th minute, when Koller headed in an accurate cross by Karel Poborský.
Baroš creates then scores
The visitors tried to respond but Ilhan Mansiz hit the post from close range and was then forced out of the game through injury. The hosts poured forward again and an-all Liverpool FC combination made it 3-0 in the 28th minute when Baroš found Vladimír Šmicer unmarked in the penalty area and the latter finished with ease. Baroš turned goalscorer seven minutes from half-time after being set free by Rosický's perceptive pass.
Rüstü took his leave at half-time as Turkey looked to keep the score respectable. His substitute Ömer Catkic proceeded to produce a series of outstanding saves as the Czech team continued to attack. However, the victory was already secure and the match became more of an exhibition for both sides than a contest as the Czech Republic settled for a four-goal victory.
Brückner, who has now led his nation to ten wins - including against Italy and France - and four draws in his 14-match reign since January 2002, said after the game: "We confirmed that our previous results were not lucky." His side currently lie on top of UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 3, ahead of the Netherlands on goal difference. Their next qualifier is at home to Moldova on 11 June.
Return to action
Turkey, who last lost by a larger margin in 1990 against Republic of Ireland, are second in Group 7, a point behind England. They return to competitive action in Slovakia on 7 June, before a home match against F.Y.R. Macedonia four days later.
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