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Czech custodian Zima keeps believing

Published: Sunday 8 May 2011, 10.17CET
"I think we are strong enough to win and qualify," the Czech Republic's penalty-saving goalkeeper Lukáš Zima told UEFA.com ahead of their vital encounter with the Netherlands.
by Tim Vollmer
from Belgrade
Czech custodian Zima keeps believing
Lukáš Zima makes one of many saves on Friday ©Marko Djurić
Published: Sunday 8 May 2011, 10.17CET

Czech custodian Zima keeps believing

"I think we are strong enough to win and qualify," the Czech Republic's penalty-saving goalkeeper Lukáš Zima told UEFA.com ahead of their vital encounter with the Netherlands.

Lukáš Zima, who saved two penalties for the Czech Republic against Germany but conceded a last-gasp equaliser, wants nothing less than victory in their UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group B decider against the Netherlands on Monday.

I think we are strong enough to win the match and to qualify for the semi-finals
Lukáš Zima

Zima made a string of superb saves and twice stopped spot kicks in the second half of Friday's Smederevo encounter while his team were one up. The man man denied in the latter of those kicks, Samed Yesil, ultimately broke the deadlock with time ticking away. That was the Czechs' second 1-1 draw after being held by Romania, taking them into second place and meaning victory against the Dutch group winners in Belgrade would ensure Zima's side meet Denmark in the semi-finals in Novi Sad on Thursday.

"I think we are strong enough to win the match and to qualify for the semi-finals," Zima told UEFA.com. "But we have to win, because Germany put on a strong performance and will win their last match against Romania. Certainly it is a pity that our captain [Jan Štěrba] got a red card and will be out. But we have plenty of other good players."

SK Slavia Praha keeper Zima is modest about his achievement against Germany. "It is my job to do the best and to make saves," he said. "I am happy that I was able to help my team with my performance. But the whole team worked very hard.

"It is always a little bit disappointing when you are in front for that long and then you concede a goal in the last minute. But Germany played very well in the second half so we can be happy with this point, because we could even have lost in the end."

Last updated: 08/05/11 12.38CET

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