Cech set to play for Czechs against Poland

The Czech Republic was given a confidence boost on Thursday

ahead of its decisive Group A match against Poland at the European

Championship when goalkeeper Petr Cech declared himself fit to


Cech said he is satisfied that his condition has improved for

Saturday’s game and ”I should be 100 percent fit for the match. My

availability is not threatened.”

Cech, who underwent light training at the team’s base in

Wroclaw, said he plans to resume full training on Friday. He picked

up the injury in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Greece in Group A.

”Tomorrow, I will train normally with no limitations, as I do

before any other match.”

A win for either team would qualify it for the quarterfinals,

and Cech’s return from injury would clearly improve his side’s

chances – despite a blunder against Greece.

”I’m really glad, everyone wants to play at the European

Championship, you don’t want to miss a single minute because every

minute is worth it,” he said.

Since his international debut more than 10 years ago as a

19-year-old, Cech has become as dominant for the national team as

he has been for Chelsea after joining the Premier League club in

June 2004.

His only black mark at the tournament so far was to spill the

ball and bump into defender Tomas Sivok, giving Greece substitute

Fanis Gekas an easy goal that brought his side back into the


Cech acknowledged after the game he was to blame, but insisted

on Thursday he had already put the episode behind him.

”I don’t think about it,” he said. ”I don’t care about it at

the moment. The match is over, we won and that’s what we needed. We

have to look to the future and that is Saturday.”

A rare mistake, but surprisingly not unseen in his international


Cech was blamed for the Czechs’ exit from Euro 2008 when they

squandered a two-goal lead over Turkey in their last group match by

conceding three goals in the final 15 minutes.

One of the world’s great goalkeepers fumbled a simple cross

three minutes before time, allowing Turkey to level for 2-2. Then

the Czechs collapsed and conceded another goal.

Cech acknowledged it was his mistake.

A commanding figure in the penalty area, Cech is also a

distinctive one with the protective headgear he has been wearing

since returning in 2007 from surgery on a fractured skull. Cech

sustained the injury after his head collided with the knee of

Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt the previous year during a Premier

League match.

Cech has said he will wear the headgear for the rest of his

career – an illustrious one that has been reaching new heights in


The keeper heads into tournament after first helping Chelsea

beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final and then performing heroics in

the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Cech saved penalties from Arjen Robben in regulation time and

Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger in the shootout which saw

Chelsea lift the trophy for the first time.

Now, he hopes for more success with the national team at Euro


”To imagine that we’d advance much farther in the tournament is

pretty attractive,” he said.