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Štol cheered by Czech form

Published: Thursday 13 May 2010, 11.03CET
As the Czech Republic prepare for their first Under-17 finals since finishing as runners-up in 2006, coach Jiří Štol believes their qualifying form is proof that they can succeed in Liechtenstein.
by Ladislav Josef
from Prague
Štol cheered by Czech form
Martin Hůrka's goal against 2009 runners-up the Netherlands clinched qualification ©UEFA.com
Published: Thursday 13 May 2010, 11.03CET

Štol cheered by Czech form

As the Czech Republic prepare for their first Under-17 finals since finishing as runners-up in 2006, coach Jiří Štol believes their qualifying form is proof that they can succeed in Liechtenstein.

The last time the Czech Republic qualified for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2006, they went all the way to the final and lost only on penalties to Russia in Luxembourg. Four years on they are back in the finals in another of Europe's smaller nations, Liechtenstein, and although from Tuesday they face tough Group B opposition in England, Turkey and Greece, coach Jiří Štol believes their qualifying form is proof that they can succeed.

UEFA.com: How well do you think you can do?

Jiří Štol: We had very difficult route to the finals as we had to defeat two of last year's medalists, the Netherlands and Switzerland. So I hope we are capable of beating every side now we are here again; we don't want to leave too early.

uefa.com: How satisfied were you with qualifying?

Štol: We had a brilliant qualifying round, winning all three games without conceding a goal and beating our fellow finalists Switzerland 4-0. We lost to Georgia in the elite round opening game, but then we improved markedly to beat Ukraine and the Netherlands. The last game was our best one ever, but I must say that we also had plenty of luck.

uefa.com: What is the strongest point of the squad?

Štol: They never give up. They are able to come from behind and keep their shape even in crucial moments. The team spirit is great, but we have also individuals to watch. Both central defenders Filip Twardzik from Celtic and Tomáš Kalas of Sigma Olomouc are true team leaders, while Martin Hůrka from Slavia Praha and Tomáš Česlák of FK Teplice are strong in attack.

uefa.com: What do you know about your opponents?

Štol: We are focusing on England as we will play the first game against them. They are the only side that won all their qualifiers; that says a lot. I watched their games in the elite round and it was impressive. I don't want to say that Greece and Turkey are easier opponents, but we will know more about them after their first game in Liechtenstein.

Last updated: 28/01/12 8.03CET

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