Germany crashed out of UEFA EURO 2004 after losing to an under-strength Czech Republic side. The Czechs, who maintained their 100% record, came from behind with goals from Marek Heinz and Milan Baroš.
Michael Ballack opened the scoring on 21 minutes to steady the nerves of a Germany side needing victory to be sure of a place in the last eight. Yet Heinz equalised with a superb free-kick and when Baroš added a second after sustained second-half pressure from Germany, the hopes of Rudi Völler's side had ended.
Having already secured top spot in Group D, the Czech Republic rested several players with Sunday's quarter-final against Denmark in mind. In total there were nine changes from the team that beat the Netherlands, with Heinz and Vratislav Lokvenc paired in attack, and midfield trio Stepán Vachoušek, Jaroslav Plašil and Roman Týce all handed the chance to shine.
Germany made just two changes, with Bastian Schweinsteiger coming in, while Jens Nowotny returned as a sweeper behind defenders Christian Wörns and Arne Friedrich. Despite needing to win to be sure of a place in the last eight, Germany started with Kevin Kuranyi as a lone striker.
The game was scrappy in the opening stages, with both sides giving possession away cheaply. René Bolf had to be alert to head Schneider's cross behind, while at the other end Týce's free-kick sailed over the crossbar. Germany's midfield began to find its rhythm and Ballack was unlucky to see his deflected shot loop over Jaromír Blažek and onto the roof of the net in the 20th minute.
Ballack did not have to wait long to make amends, however. Bernd Schneider robbed Plašil on the left and delivered a low cross that was laid off by Schweinsteiger into the path of Ballack who crashed his left-foot volley into the top corner.
Germany took heart and Schneider was soon testing Blazek again before Kuranyi saw his powerful drive charged down by Bolf, but the VfB Stuttgart striker frequently found himself isolated in attack. The Czech Republic appeared to be in need of some inspiration and they got just that from Heinz on the half-hour. The FC Baník Ostrava forward won a free-kick 30 metres out, then dispatched a sumptuous left-foot shot into the top corner.
Lukas Podolski was sent on to offer Kuranyi support, but Germany almost fell behind a minute into the second half. Nowotny's pass was intercepted by Heinz whose cross picked out Lokvenc, but his left-foot volley was straight at Oliver Kahn.
With the Netherlands heading for victory against Latvia, Germany knew only a win would do and began attacking with urgency. Schneider cut in from the right and whipped in a shot that was tipped over by Blažek, then Ballack directed a header straight at the goalkeeper.
All Germany's best moves were coming through Ballack and he was unlucky not to score a second on 66 minutes, latching onto Philipp Lahm's pass and cutting inside before hitting a low shot that bounced out off the near post. The rebound fell for Schneider but he shot wide.
The Germany pressure mounted, with Schneider, Podolski and Kuranyi all going close with headers before Baroš put the Czechs ahead 13 minutes from time. Racing onto a pass from Heinz, Baroš held off Wörns and, after seeing his first shot saved by Kahn, swept the rebound into the empty net.