Wroclaw, Poland: Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky expects his team-mates to fight for survival against Greece on Tuesday after a demoralizing start to the European Championship.
In the Czechs' first match, Russia tore apart their defence to win 4-1 on Friday and go top of Group A. Now, at least a draw is vital in Wroclaw to remain in contention. "I'm not ready to go home yet," Rosicky said on Monday. "We will fight to improve our reputation."
The Czech Republic would become the first team to be knocked out of the tournament if it loses against Greece. "We still have a chance to fix the damage," the captain said. "We have a second chance and we will use it."
Coach Michal Bilek, who is rebuilding his team following the retirement of key players like Pavel Nedved and Jan Koller, insisted Monday he trusted his team and claimed he doesn't plan "any significant changes" in the starting lineup.
But he needs to fix the team's porous defence after the loss to Russia, the biggest for the country since the Czech Republic was formed after Czechoslovakia split in 1993.
Bilek wasn't ready to reveal his strategy, but made it clear the defence is his major concern. "Our aim is not to concede a goal," he said.
Greece have scored just once in three encounters against Czech Republic since 1993. In their Euro 2004 semi-final, Greece scored seconds from the end of the first 15 minutes of extra time to send the Czechs home. Greece went on to win the tournament.
"I remember that very well," Rosicky said. "It's still painful. But I don't take the match as revenge. Both teams are quite different now."
It's unlikely Bilek would change his traditional lineup with a lone striker, preferably Milan Baros up front. But with the striker struggling in qualifying and the match against Russia, Bilek has to come up with new ideas if he wants to overcome Greece, which remains reliant on a solid defence.
Greece drew 1-1 with co-host Poland on Friday. After Greece, the Czechs face Poland in their final group stage match June 16, also in Wroclaw.