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Czech's Cech Takes The Blame

  • Guardian, Monday, June 16, 2008 1:30 PM
Few neutral fans will hold it against the Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech for making such a mess of a simple cross in his team's thrilling "winner takes all" Group A game with Turkey Sunday, which the Czechs lost, 3-2, after being 2-0 up. After all, without his fumbling, we would have been denied another late and dramatic Turkish comeback. Spare a thought for the poor player, though, who took the brunt of the blame and declared that the only good thing about this season was that, for him at least, it was now over.

"When you make a mistake you have to admit it," said Cech, who suffered various injuries this past season for Chelsea, which finished runners-up to Manchester United in both the English Premier League and the Champions League final. "It was my mistake that decided that we have to go home. The season was unbelievable, just bad luck after bad luck. Whenever I happened to recover, I was hit again by a disappointment from another injury, a disappointment from the defeat in the [CL] final. This is even worse because it was me who made a mistake."

Turkey's coach Fatih Terim spoke of emulating 2004's surprise winner Greece. "What's important is to believe," he said. "We are now going to Vienna to play Croatia in the quarterfinal and let's hope we can stay there [for the final]." Czech coach Karel Bruckner, meanwhile, has now retired with the parting shot that he "will not sleep for many nights after that."

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