Two Vladimír Šmicer goals in three second-half minutes ensured the Czech Republic bowed out of UEFA EURO 2000 on a high as they left opponents Denmark rooted to the foot of Group D, without a point or a goal at these finals.
Despite having only third place to play for, both sides showed commitment and drive in a match that hung in the balance for an hour. Šmicer swung it irrevocably in the Czech Republic's favour on 64 minutes, ghosting in unmarked at the far post to slot in Karel Poborský's cross. Having found his range he swiftly put the game out of Denmark's reach, beating Peter Schmeichel to a long ball and tapping into the unguarded net.
It was perhaps little more than the Czech deserved after a campaign that saw losses to the Netherlands and France when no one could have begrudged them victories. For a while a third defeat was in the offing as Jesper Gronkjær and Jon Dahl Tomasson tested Pavel Srníček in a bright opening for Denmark.
Jozef Chovanec's side responded with their best opportunity of the opening half seven minutes before the interval. After good work from Poborský, Šmicer's venomous 18-metre shot was parried to safety by Schmeichel, making a record-equalling 13th appearance in a UEFA European Championship final tournament.
It was also a momentous day for Denmark coach Bo Johansson, leading the side for the last time before handing the reins to Morten Olsen and Michael Laudrup. His side seemed intent to wave him off in style as they seized the initiative after the restart and Srnícek needed to be alert to block Tomasson's header; Allan Nielsen hit the rebound wide.
Stig Tøfting went even closer when his free-kick fizzed past the post, but as soon as Šmicer found his range it was over as a contest. The Czechs, so impressive en route to UEFA EURO 2000, will be happy to have returned to winning ways against a side they meet again in 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
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