Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner admits his side will have to improve on their opening day performance against Switzerland when they face Portugal at the Stade de Geneve on Wednesday.
Bruckner’s team may have begun their Euro 2008 campaign with a victory over Switzerland but it was barely merited and the team was criticised for their efforts in the Czech press.
“I think it’s a bit unfair that we are coming in for criticism after starting off the tournament with a win,” Bruckner said.
“On Saturday, we focused our efforts on getting three points rather than the manner of victory. However, I think if we are realistic we need to improve our game in every area because Portugal are one of the favourites to win this tournament and it will take a great side to beat them.
“I admit we are not as strong as them offensively but that does not mean we are a weaker team. We are strong defensively, play well as a unit and are clever tactically, so it has the makings of a very close game.”
Right-back Zdenek Pospech is fit again after flu and Marek Matejovsky could replace David Jarolim in midfield, but Bruckner is expected to name an unchanged side.
The coach dismissed suggestions Portugal’s attack would have too much energy for his players.
“Portugal have excellent forwards but we are ready for them after our rest,” he said. “They are not a difficult team to prepare for from a tactical perspective because they are quite predictable. Perhaps we have to be more creative to win this game but I have faith in my team.”
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is also likely to stick with the same lineup that brought his side a comfortable 2-0 win over Turkey in their opening game.
“We have to make the most of our technical qualities,” he said. “It will be the same team as the one that beat Turkey but we always know we have quality on the bench in the likes of Fernando Meira. His physical presence could be important later in the game because the average height of the Czech team is 1.84m.
“They are a very physical side but all my squad are in good condition and just because they are physical does not mean we will change our style. They have done well in previous tournaments and it will be a very balanced game.”