Czechs down Latvia to reach UEFA EURO 2016

Latvia 1-2 Czech Republic
Pavel Vrba's team qualified for UEFA EURO 2016, David Limberský and Vladimír Darida scoring their first international goals in Riga.

Highlights: Latvia 1-2 Czech Republic
  • Czech Republic qualify for UEFA EURO 2016
  • David Limberský opens scoring with maiden international goal
  • Vladimír Darida follows suit with first strike for country
  • Artūrs Zjuzins notches on 73 minutes to ensure nervy finish
  • Next games: Iceland v Latvia, Czech Republic v Turkey (10 October)

The Czech Republic are celebrating qualification for UEFA EURO 2016 thanks to a 2-1 victory over Latvia in Riga, Pavel Vrba's side making it to their sixth successive European finals. 

Turkey's 3-0 success against the Netherlands, combined with maiden international goals from David Limberský and Vladimír Darida, ensured that the Czechs will be at next summer's final tournament in France, though Artūrs Zjuzins's 73rd-minute strike for Latvia made for a nervy finish.

Latvia struggled to contend with their visitors' movement, as Darida forced an early save from Andris Vaņins prior to Limberský's 13th-minute opener. Milan Škoda showed strength to hold the ball up from a throw-in on the left of the hosts' box, allowing Limberský to take it off him and fire in from an acute angle. 

Latvia tried to haul themselves level with Artūrs Karašausks going through on goal, but an untimely slip epitomised their poor luck in front of goal in Group A. They went 2-0 behind moments later as Darida received a pass from David Pavelka before taking a touch and striking a fine drive into the top-left corner from outside the area.

David Limberský celebrates his first international goal
David Limberský celebrates his first international goal©AFP/Getty Images

Marians Pahars had made five changes to his lineup after the 1-1 draw in Turkey, and the two-goal deficit spurred the Latvia coach into making two further alterations inside 33 minutes. The changes had some effect, Petr Čech making a fine stop to deny a Zjuzins effort. 

Latvia showed a little more life around the hour mark, as Igors Tarasovs' header forced another excellent block from Čech, before Zjuzins blazed over the bar from a good position. Latvia's tails were up for the last 17 minutes after Čech failed to keep out Zjuzins' attempt from the edge of the box, but the Czechs held on to qualify.