From the second place the Czech national team will go to the play-offs of the international tournament in Baku. They beat Italy 4-1 in the last match of the regular group A and will play Ukraine in the semi-final knockout match on Friday at 10:30 am CET.
Jiri Sodoma sent the Czech team into a two-goal lead against Italy. “We went into the game as favourites according to the table, which we didn’t confirm in the first half, but we were in the lead. We let the opponent into a few chances, it was nothing major. Then we outplayed the Italians, which we confirmed in the next phase in terms of results,” said Czech goalkeeper Ondřej Beran.
The Italians reduced the deficit shortly after the start of the second half, but Michal Vávra and Vojtěch Pazdera secured the Czech victory.
“We started the game well and actively, we didn’t let the Italians do anything for the whole first half. We started the second half well, but then we got carried away with some arguments with the Italians, the bench and the referees, which hampered our performance. We conceded a stupid goal, then luckily we added two more goals and calmed things down again,” said Czech striker Vávra.
He scored in the 45th minute. “In the locker room we said we would try to finish the goalkeeper on his weaker leg and as we said, I went there. He waited with the cross and luckily it fell in,” Vávra rejoiced.
Aries allowed the Italian side a single goal. “The Italians had two dangerous standards and threatened mainly from breakaways because they played from a deep block. It was difficult to get into it, but we coped with it,” smiled the Czech goalkeeper.
Friday’s knockout stage programme in Baku will start with France playing hosts Azerbaijan at 9am our time, with the winner facing Serbia in the semi-finals. If the Czechs beat Ukraine, they will face Kazakhstan in the second semi-final from 7.30pm.
Italy – Czech Republic 1::4
Goals: 33. Andrea – 9. and 31. Sodoma, 45. Vávra, 52. Pazdera
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