The 2004 Euros will be etched in our minds as the tournament to demonstrate what an unfancied team such as Greece can achieve when you have a resolute defense to build from. It is also not often that a group stage match generates as many headlines as the Czech Republic vs Netherlands match did, it had everything a classic should fast game-play, high quality players, high intensity action and is one of the most enthralling games I have watched till date.
The game was set between 2 relatively even teams with Netherlands having a star striker lead the ranks while the Czech had Pavel Nedved pulling the strings for them.
The game started at high tempo with the Netherlands racing off to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Bouma and Ruud Van Nistelrooy which prompted a first half change from the Czech manager forcing them to go on the offensive and the strategy paid off as Czech team came back to level the score in the 71st minute.
Despite the high scoring encounter no fault can be attached to either goalkeeper as both were in inspired form but the attacking talent on display just shown through none more so than the winner by Smicer in the dying moments with Van Der Sar producing a good save to deny Nedved only to be bamboozled by the cheeky pass by Marek Heinz to set up the easiest of finishes for Smicer.
This game will be a purists’ fantasy as ‘Attack, Attack, Attack’ was the byword of the game and hope that the upcoming Euros can enthrall in the same manner as this match did.
Czech Republic-Netherlands: 3-2
Netherlands: Van der Sar, Heitinga, Stam, Bouma, Van Bronckhorst, Seedorf (Van der Vaart 86), Cocu, Davids, Van der Meyde (Reiziger 79), Van Nistelrooy, Robben (Bosvelt 59)
Czech Republic: Cech, Grygera (Smicer 25), Ujfalusi, Jiranek, Jankulovski, Galasek (Heinz 62), Poborsky, Rosicky, Nedved, Baros, Koller (Rozehnal 75).