July 24, 2021

We already lacked strength. But we have nothing to be ashamed of, Kováč claims

Tolga Bozoglu, Reuters

Travel and climate were challenging. Then Patrik Schick was injured, there were two broken heads and you could feel the boys pulling their legs.

I think if we took the lead in the match, it would be completely different. We did not expect such a quick goal, to everything from the standard, where we have a huge strength. I think the Danes played the horn so purposefully. Kjaer did it cleverly and fifty percent of the goal was his when he made a great block for Tomas Holes. At the second goal, Cuf ran behind Maehle’s back. However, the Danes kicked a fantastic balloon with shelves, unfortunately Bořa (Bořil) did not close it and defended from the other side.

Coach Jaroslav Šilhavý evaluates the Czech performance at EURO


In the first half we had a lot of standard situations, from which we unfortunately did not score a goal. But we must not forget that Christensen, Kjaer and Vestergaard are fantastic headers and excellent jumpers. But we were there in good numbers as well as by the centers from the side. Tonda Barák kicked it inside perfectly. Only pieces were missing …

Czech joy. Patrik Schick (right) celebrates his shot into the Danish net during the EURO quarterfinals.

Darko Vojinovic, ČTK / AP

However, we scored a contact goal shortly after the break, which was great. We had enough time to equalize, but we did not build on the pressure from the beginning of the second half and did not get into a more continuous pressure. After an hour of play, Hjulmand put the ball on a plate for him and instead of hitting it with his right foot it cannoned of his left shin wide of the goal. It was obvious that our boys already had a lot on their feet. Tomáš Souček had a difficult season, yet how much he fought and defeated … The same Cuf and others. They left really everything there. But as I said, the forces were already lacking. The Danes still threatened a quick counterattack, it could have been done sooner, but Tomáš Vaclík held the team twice after the shots of Poulsen and Maehle, so the chance to equalize lasted until the last minute.

It did not happen. But we have nothing to be ashamed of and we leave the tournament with our heads held high. For me, the boys have achieved a great success. Although we believed that we could defeat the Danes. We were terribly teamed. On the other hand, when you look at the individual players of the opponent in which the teams work, their quality is simply huge. It’s not like the Danes lost us. In short, they won by a goal and move on.

Danish football player Kasper Dolberg (middle) celebrates a goal in the Czech net with his teammate Mikkel Damsgaard during the EURO quarterfinals.

Dan Mullan, ČTK / AP

I have to say that before the start of the tournament we talked a lot about the stoppers, how it all goes and we were all worried. But Čelda (Čelůstka) and Kalim (Kalas) were a huge surprise for me and they managed it very well. In terms of combat, mutual cooperation or securing, they worked very well! They even blocked a lot.

The fantastic tournament was played by Schick. He scored five goals, which equalized Milan Baroš, which is an amazing success. I wish him to score at least 15 to 20 goals in Leverkusen next season. In order to follow up on these performances, which must give him a lot of confidence to one day tear it into a world format. Patrik has quality for that.

Cuf was also excellent, Holeš surprised me. Masopust or Ševa (Ševčík) also did very well. Nava from the demanding season was reflected in the performances of some boys, but we did a solid maximum on the urn. Now everyone is disappointed, but over time, in my opinion, they will realize what they have accomplished and will be proud of themselves.

Former football representative Radoslav Kováč is the European champion for players under 21 from 2002. During his rich and successful playing career, he won the title with Sparta and Basel. He played as a stopper or defensive midfielder. In addition to Switzerland, he worked in Spartak Moscow or English West Ham. As an assistant coach he worked at Letná, last season he led SFC Opava.