Rosicky inclusion bolsters Czech Republic qualification hopes
Past and present Premier League stars make Michal Bilek's men look good to progress
A side once awash with talent employed by leading European clubs, Czech Republic maintain a very good squad nucleus, making them look massive at 4/1 to win their group at Euro 2012.
Tomas Rosicky’s return to fitness has further improved a team which already features Petr Cech and Milan Baros of Premier League fame, along with Michal Kadlec of Bayer Leverkusen.
Rosicky’s inclusion is a major boost to the national side, and the three-time Czech footballer of the year will be hopeful of replicating the kind of form that has made him a standout performer in major tournaments of the past.
The Czechs are 13/10 to simply qualify from their group, and this price appeals in light of a relatively generous draw in terms of their opposition.
11/8 favourites Russia have failed to prepare for the tournament in the manner they would have wished, being held to a draw by minnows Lithuania over the weekend.
They have also been eliminated at the group stage in three of their last four European championship appearances, which could deter punters from getting behind them at a short 4/9 to qualify from Group A.
Elswehere in the group, although Poland will pose a threat with home advantage, they lack the sort of squad depth that will make them truly feared in the competition, and don’t look particularly appealing at 4/5 to go through.
Greece make up the group, and despite triumphing in the competition in 2004, they don’t look as well-equipped as the Czechs to justify 13/10 odds to advance.
Their success in 2004 was the only time they progressed past the group stage, and they could fall at the first hurdle again here.
Euro 2004 saw Czech Republic advance to the latter stages too, as they reached the semi-finals of the European championships for the second time in three tournament appearances.
Baros top-scored in that tournament, and his eye for goal remains as sharp as ever, proven by an international average that nears one in two appearances.
The former Liverpool man may be worth an each-way punt for this year’s Golden Boot at a gigantic 80/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.