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Ujfaluši calls for 'impeccable' defence

Published: Wednesday 11 June 2008, 14.44CET
Tomáš Ujfaluši says the Czech Republic would be "foolish" to worry only about Cristiano Ronaldo when they face a Portugal team with talent all over the park.
by Pete Sanderson
from Stade de Genève
Ujfaluši calls for 'impeccable' defence
Tomáš Ujfaluši and Milan Baroš in training ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

Czech RepublicPortugal

Goals scored4
Total attempts34
Attempts on target11
Attempts off target17
Attempts blocked0
Attempts against woodwork1
Yellow cards4
Red Cards0
Fouls committed50
Fouls suffered48
Published: Wednesday 11 June 2008, 14.44CET

Ujfaluši calls for 'impeccable' defence

Tomáš Ujfaluši says the Czech Republic would be "foolish" to worry only about Cristiano Ronaldo when they face a Portugal team with talent all over the park.

Tomáš Ujfaluši laughed off suggestions that the Czech Republic were scared of Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming his team-mates would relish the chance to play against such a formidable opponent in Wednesday evening's Group A meeting with Portugal.

First encounter
"I have never had the pleasure of playing against Cristiano Ronaldo," said Ujfaluši, the Czech captain. "We're looking forward to coming up against him but we are definitely not scared. There is much more to worry about than just one player in this Portuguese side. If we focused on him we'd be foolish when you consider the likes of Deco, Nani and Simão are all in their team and more than capable of eclipsing him on the day. They are so quick in attack that we must defend as a team. We are a strong defensive outfit, though, and our coach has made sure we are ready for them."

Defensive unit
The 30-year-old centre-half was a rock for the Czech Republic at UEFA EURO 2004™ and he believes this fixture will show whether the current crop have the potential to win the tournament after they opened with a 1-0 victory against co-hosts Switzerland on Saturday. "To be the best, you have to beat the best," he said. "We feel good after beating Switzerland. They were a strong side and I think the other teams in the group may struggle to beat them. This game will be very different. Portugal attack with speed and we have to be very attentive all over the pitch and impeccable in defence. We must support each other and work as a unit but we know can beat them."

Possible progress
Ujfaluši also revealed Czech Republic coach Karel Brückner had one or two surprises up his sleeve as they prepared for a fixture which could put them in the quarter-finals. "Everyone talks about the qualities of Portugal but we are a strong side who came close to reaching the final in 2004 and we have now got some great young players coming through," he said. "Winning the first match was important. We know we didn't set the world on fire but winning leaves us with three points. We truly believe we can also beat Portugal and then we will be in a very strong position."

Last updated: 11/06/08 18.13CET

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