A headed goal from Radoslav Kováč proved enough to edge the Czech Republic to a narrow victory over Cyprus and return them to the top of UEFA EURO™ Group D, level on points with Germany.
When the substitute, who had come on for the injured Zdeněk Grygera, scored midway through the first half, it appeared as though his side were on course for a big win, but Cyprus held firm for the rest of the game - if never really managing to pose a serious attacking threat.
The hosts were always commanding yet struggled to create clear-cut chances against the resolute Cypriots. Marek Jankulovski had the first shot of note from a tenth-minute free-kick, but the AC Milan defender's effort was parried by Antonis Georgallides in the Cyprus goal.
Karel Brückner's men broke the deadlock after 22 minutes when Tomáš Rosický sent over a corner from the left and Kováč headed into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. The Czechs were reduced mainly to pot-shots for the rest of the half, with Jankulovski, Milan Baroš and Tomáš Galásek all blazing over the bar. On the stroke of half-time, Jan Koller tested Georgallides, who produced a fantastic stop as the AS Monaco FC forward sent in an effort from outside the area.
Cyprus almost managed to catch their hosts cold moments after the break, as Yiannis Okkas shot from the edge of the box, but Petr Čech held his attempt. Baroš nodded crosses from Jan Polák and Jankulovski goalwards yet was twice denied by Georgallides. At the other end, Efstathios Aloneftis blasted a strike wide from ten metres, while Okkas drove over the bar from a similar position. But neither side really looked menacing and the Czech Republic held on for three points which put them level with Germany.