Czech Republic captain Eva Šmeralová is out of the squad for their UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ play-off againt Italy following the injury she suffered in their last qualifier against England in late September.
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The defender hurt her knee early in the 5-1 defeat that ended Czech hopes of direct qualification for next summer's finals in Finland, and has not recovered in time for the first leg in Prague on Saturday or the return in Gubbio next Wednesday. To make matters worse, Czech coach Dušan Žovinec will be without two more players from his club side AC Sparta Praha – defender Lucie Heroldová and midfielder Lucie Kladrubská, who are suspended. However, the national team's leading player of recent years, Pavlína Ščasná of Sweden's LdB FC Malmö, is included after returning from injury against England. The Czechs are aiming to reach their first finals at the expense of opponents who have never failed to qualify and knocked them out in the 2005 play-offs.
Czech Republic squad
Goalkeepers: Ivana Odlasová (AC Sparta Praha), Marcela Zbořilová (SK Slavia Praha).
Defenders: Veronika Pincová (SK Slavia Praha), Pavla Benýrová (SK Slavia Praha), Irena Martínková (AC Sparta Praha) , Petra Bertholdová (AC Sparta Praha), Adéla Pivoňková (AC Sparta Praha), Martina Marcoňová (1. FC Slovácko).
Midfielders: Blanka Pěničková (SK Slavia Praha), Marcela Krůzová (SK Slavia Praha), Petra Vyštejnová (AC Sparta Praha), Pavlína Ščasná (LdB FC Malmö), Martina Danielová (1. FC Slovácko).
Forwards: Lucie Martínková (AC Sparta Praha), Markéta Ringelová (AC Sparta Praha), Kateřina Došková (AC Sparta Praha), Iva Mocová (AC Sparta Praha), Michaela Marková (FC Viktoria Plzeň).