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Czechs appoint Pešice as caretaker coach

Josef Pešice will replace Michal Bílek and oversee the Czech Republic's last two qualifiers in FIFA World Cup Group B, with the team having only a slender chance of second place.

Josef Pešice (right) has replaced Michal Bílek (left) at the Czech Republic helm
Josef Pešice (right) has replaced Michal Bílek (left) at the Czech Republic helm ©Martin Sekanina

Josef Pešice has been put in charge of the Czech Republic for their two remaining FIFA World Cup qualifiers following the midweek resignation of head coach Michal Bílek.

Pešice takes over as interim coach after Bílek stood down in the wake of Tuesday's 2-1 defeat in Italy. That result left the Czechs fourth in Group B and with just an outside chance of qualifying for Brazil 2014. Pešice has worked as one of Bílek's two assistants since 2012. Previously he coached Czech national teams from Under-16 to U19 levels.

"Our main aim will be to finish the qualification in a dignified and succesful manner, just for Michal Bílek. There is still a lot to play for – six points are at stake and the results count for our coefficient, which will affect our draw for the next EURO qualifiers," the 63-year-old said.

Besides losing to section winners Italy in Turin, the Czechs were also beaten 2-1 at home by Armenia last Friday. Next month they visit Malta before hosting a Bulgaria side currently second in the group, four points above them. Denmark are also three points better off in the race for the runners-up spot.

Pešice becomes the Czech Republic's eighth coach since the split with Slovakia. Dušan Uhrin, Jozef Chovanec, Karel Brückner, František Straka, Petr Rada and Ivan Hašek preceded Bílek.