Czech mates mesh well together

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Qualifying out of Europe for the Under-20 World Cup is not easy.

Arguably, it's the toughest region to come out of for the 24-team tournament.

Just look at the countries that didn't make it - England, France, Italy or Germany.

That alone says a lot about the Czech Republic who'll face Canada tonight (7 p.m.) at Commonwealth Stadium for a final exhibition tune-up before the tournament.

TYPICAL EUROPEANS

"They're a strong team," said Canadian midfielder Cristian Nunez. "They're a typical European team. They are very strong and have a lot of experience, so I think it's going to be a good game."

This is the third time the two teams have met in preparation for the World Cup. In October, Canada travelled to Prague to play a pair of exhibition games.

The Czech team won the first game 2-0 and Canada won the second game 2-1.

"This is obviously a preparation match," said Canadian midfielder Will Johnson.

"To play a high-quality opponent like the Czechs in a stadium that we're going to be playing in less than three weeks is going to be a great experience for a lot of the guys.

"It'll give us a good chance to work on all the things we need to in order to get ready for the tournament. You need the practice games, you can't just train. It's a nice break from training and it's going to be exciting."

The Czech Republic qualified for the U-20 World Cup by making it to the semifinals of the European championships.

They are lead by talented midfielder Martin Fenin and striker Marek Strestik.

STRONG MIDFIELD

"We have very good defensive players and midfield players," said Czech Republic head coach Miroslav Soukup through an interpreter yesterday. "Marek Strestik is a very good striker. He's an important player for us and our style of play."

At the World Cup the Czechs are in a group with Argentina, North Korea and Panama.


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