Czech coach eyes strike force against Turkey

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Czech coach Karel Bruckner may use the strike force of Jan Koller and Milan Baros today against Turkey, abandoning his defensive strategy at Euro 2008 as he seeks a spot in the last eight of the Euro 2008.

The encounter today at the Stade de Geneve will decide which team goes through to the final eight as Group A runner-up behind Portugal.

Bruckner most recently fielded the two together from the start in a 1-1 friendly in Denmark in March. After midfielder Tomas Rosicky was ruled out of Euro 2008, Bruckner played an unusually defensive lineup against Switzerland with Koller alone up front.

When Koller, who has scored 54 goals for the country, proved ineffective, Bruckner substituted him for Vaclav Sverkos, who scored the winner in a 1-0 victory, his first international goal in his third game in the national jersey.

Baros started in the second game against Portugal on Wednesday.

Bruckner always conceals details of his team and tactics, but Turkey coach Fatih Terim bucked the trend for secrecy by naming his lineup a day early.

The biggest move was the inclusion of striker Semih Senturk alongside Nihat Kahveci.

When asked to reveal his tactics, however, Terim only said he hoped for a game without the penalty shootout that could come if the teams draw their final group match and finish level on points.

Three members of the Turkish team -- Senturk, defender Servet Cetin and midfielder Ugur Boral -- will face an additional challenge before the game.

They, along with hundreds of thousands of Turkish high school students, will take a three-hour exam to earn a spot at university.

BREAKING THE TIES

Half of the remaining eight group games have no meaning for the teams that already have qualified atop their groups -- Portugal, Croatia, the Netherlands and Spain.

Under the system used by the Union of European Football Associations, head-to-head meetings are the first measure to separate teams that are even on points, not overall goal difference.

Under the traditional system, where the first measure is overall goal difference and the second overall goals scored, coaches would be left with difficult decisions on whether to push hard and finish first, or not to worry because second place still assures advancement.

The UEFA system eliminates that dilemma.

"First, we'll see our injury lists," Croatia coach Slaven Bilic said. "We will not be stupid. We'll be egoists who are looking after our own interests."

No matter what the system, Italy is facing elimination. The Azzurri are all worked up that the Netherlands might let Romania win, a result that would eliminate the Italians and the French.

"It's a natural and understandable worry," Italian football federation president Giancarlo Abete said. "The credibility of the tournament and European football at large is at stake."


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