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Czech Republic savour 'spark of hope'

"We didn't give up," said Pavel Vrba after his Czech Republic side fought back from 2-0 down to thwart Croatia, who "did everything perfectly" for coach Ante Čačić – until conceding.

The Czech Republic enjoy their dramatic point against Croatia
The Czech Republic enjoy their dramatic point against Croatia ©Panoramic

Pavel Vrba, Czech Republic coach
I'd be careful using the word miracle. We managed to get a point, which is very important for us. We'll play for everything in the last match. It wasn't going well, but we've given ourselves a spark of hope to get out of the group. All the players gave their utmost in the second half, and of course the two substitutes helped a lot.

What helped most was that we didn't give up. We didn't give up on the point and I'm really proud of all the players. We didn't look at who was substituted – Luka Modrić is important for Croatia, but I only look at my team. The fans were our 12th, 13th and 14th men today and pushed us on.

At half-time, I told the players that if they don't want to play football, we have no place here; Croatia were much better. We didn't have any chances, we just kicked the ball away. In the second half we got better and that's how we equalised. It was also luck. The match against Turkey will be crucial.

We will wait for what the doctor says [about Tomáš Rosický]. He has problems with his thigh. The question is if it's because he gave everything and had cramp, or if it's a more serious problem. We can't say for now.

Tomáš Necid, Czech Republic forward
A forward needs to crave goals and it's always down to them to take responsibility. I believed in myself [with the penalty]. Even though it was my first touch of the ball, I was sure I'd score and I'm glad I did.

The point may mean we can advance if we win against Turkey. We might not have got through if we won that game and then only had three points.

Tomáš Rosický, Czech Republic midfielder
It was obvious we needed a point. Most probably, third place and three points won't be enough to make it through. We knew it was going to be difficult. This one point was very much needed. Again, we committed enormous errors with the goals, gifting goals to the opposition. However, then we started to fight back and eventually we were able to level matters.

Čech: We dug deep to get a point
Čech: We dug deep to get a point

We knew we had nothing to lose as we were poor in the first half. We couldn't put together more than two passes. The Croatians were better in almost every aspect. We knew we had to play more and offer ourselves more. Then the situation improved, even though we went 2-0 down. We upped the pressure.

You'll have noticed that I encouraged the fans during the match to show their commitment. They were great. The team and my fellow players reacted well. Both the fans and ourselves had a good time – we felt the connection. We have to be very thankful today for their support and their sheer numbers. We hope we'll have the same support for the Turkey game.

Ante Čačić, Croatia coach
We are sad after playing a great match. We played some excellent football, but in the end Czech Republic made it and I congratulate them. They are a quality team. We played one of the best games since I've been coach and we had a lot of chances. But this is the EURO – every team has chances.

We should have won and had six points. I'm just happy about the team's performance – until it was 2-1, we did everything perfectly. After the interruption, we lost concentration. We're used to this kind of situation. We can only be stronger and better after this. I'm sorry we lost two points, but that's football.

Luka Modrić is just tired. He had a problem with his muscle. He's the most important player for us. He had a tough season – he played in the Champions League final a few weeks ago, but I think he will be ready for the next game.

Ivan Rakitić, Croatia midfielder and man of the match
Until they scored their first goal, they were not dangerous. We were the much better team and had chances to score more than two goals. They deserved the penalty – it was a clear handball. They took two points from us and I think we deserved three. We have to stay together as a big family – nobody can beat us when we're like that.