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Ondřej Mazuch hopes the Czech squad's frank discussion following their semi-final loss will provoke an improved performance in Saturday's Olympic play-off with Belarus in Aalborg.
The RSC Anderlecht defender left the pitch in Herning on Wednesday furious over his team's inability to show their true potential so far in the tournament. However, Mazuch believes an impassioned debate that took place in the immediate aftermath of their 1-0 extra-time defeat by Switzerland will serve the squad well.
"I spoke out in the dressing room after the semi-final as I felt it was necessary. We can't just smile and act like nothing happened and say the next game will be better," said the centre-back, who is one of the squad's most experienced members with 25 appearances at this level. "I have never been so angry as after Wednesday's game.
"That was our fourth game in the tournament and we haven't played well so far," he continued. "That is a warning. I said my peace and the other guys supported me. That was positive – we showed that nobody is happy with the way in which we've performed. I hope it will help us for the Belarus game."
The 1-0 loss at the hands of the Swiss compounded the frustration felt by Jakub Dovalil's men following their indifferent form in the group stage. The nervy finish in the opening win against Ukraine was followed by a one-sided defeat by Spain while only two late goals against England took the Czechs into the last four.
"We were fortunate to get out of the group. We played a good half against England and 20 minutes against Ukraine. It's better not to talk about Spain," conceded Mazuch, whose nation had come to Denmark among the pre-tournament favourites after emerging from qualifying unbeaten.
"We beat Germany [in qualifying], and had a lot of chances against the Netherlands and France too [in friendlies before the finals].
We hadn't lost for two years, but we've had moments here at this tournament where nothing has worked."
The feeling of disappointment would be soothed significantly, however, should Dovalil's men secure a spot at the Olympics. Midfielder Lukáš Vácha, who played at right-back in the Switzerland game, added: "
The semi-final is in the past. We don't care about that, even if it was painful loss. We are still in the running for the Olympics, and that was our main target before the tournament."
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