Captain Tomáš Ujfaluši is sure St. Jakob-Park will be a "lucky stadium" for the Czech Republic as they kick off UEFA EURO 2008™ against Switzerland this Saturday.
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Czech Republic captain Tomáš Ujfaluši declared the St. Jakob-Park in Basel would be a "lucky stadium" for his side after having a first look around on the eve of the UEFA EURO 2008™ curtain-raiser against Group A rivals and co-hosts Switzerland.
The 30-year-old has already received a healthy dose of good fortune after recovering from a stomach muscle complaint, and he is confident there will be good reason for spirits to rise still further by full time on Saturday. "I have seen the pitch, this is going to be a lucky stadium for us," he said. "We're ready to fight. We're going to open the tournament and apart from one player we are in perfect health, confident and looking forward to playing the match."
That one player is Zdeněk Pospěch who has been suffering from flu. Ujfaluši himself had provided some cause for concern, but he was quick to dispel any doubts over his fitness. "I have trained with the team and I have no health issues," he said. "I'm ready to start." That means coach Karel Brückner will be able to field the same defence that performed so impressively during qualifying – conceding just five goals – and Ujfaluši is confident his side can keep up their momentum. "In qualifying we managed to finish first [ahead of Germany in Group D] and I believe we will play very well in this championship as well," the centre-back said.
The pressure of playing the co-hosts in the opening game was no extra burden. "I don't think there is a big difference between the first game and other games," he said. "It just means we start earlier. We have prepared for this match like we would for any other. I'm confident we have done our best and that we will do our best again tomorrow." Ujfaluši replaced Tomáš Rosický as captain after the Arsenal FC midfielder pulled out of the tournament through injury, but he revealed the pair had been in close contact as kick-off nears. "Of course we're sad Tomáš cannot participate. He is among the biggest supporters of this team. We have had a few chances to talk and he is keeping his fingers crossed for us and of course we will do everything to fulfil his wishes."