Czech Republic was founded in 1901, existing under the previously mentioned names before the separation of Czechoslovakia in 1992. Their first international competition as the Czech Republic was Euro 1996 where they finished runners-up, their best finish in any international competition. Despite their early success, they have only featured in one FIFA World Cup, the 2006 tournament, where they were eliminated in the first round of the competition. They suffered the same fate at Euro 2008, their most recent appearance in the final stages of a major tournament.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Michal Bilek’s side recovered from a poor start to qualifying to earn their spot at Euro 2012 through the play-offs. Two second-half goals gave the Czech Republic an impressive first-leg victory at home to Montenegro in their first play-off match, before Petr Cech starred as they secured qualification in Podgorica.
However, it was a controversial decision away to Scotland that went a long way to helping the Czechs seal a play-off place. With Craig Levein’s side leading 2-1 in the 90th minute, the referee awarded a dubious penalty to the visitors after Jan Rezek went down under a challenge from Danny Wilson. Michal Kadlec duly converted the spot-kick to earn a point, and Rezek later admitted he made the most of the contact from Wilson.
PAST RECORD IN THE EUROS
1960 Entered as Czechoslovakia 1988 Entered as Czechoslovakia
1964 Entered as Czechoslovakia 1992 Entered as Czechoslovakia
1968 Entered as Czechoslovakia 1996 Runners-up
1972 Entered as Czechoslovakia 2000 Group stage
1976 Entered as Czechoslovakia 2004 Semi-finalists
1980 Entered as Czechoslovakia 2008 Group stage
1984 Entered as Czechoslovakia 2012 Qualified through play-offs
The Czech Republic, who have qualified for the European Championships on every occasion since becoming an independent nation in 1993, came close to causing a major upset at their first tournament in 1996, beating Italy, Portugal and France on their way to losing the final in extra time against Germany at Wembley.
The Czechs gained their revenge by defeating Germany eight years later at Euro 2004 en route to the last four, but they were unable to even reach the knockout stages at Euro 2008. Leading 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining in their final group game against Turkey, an extraordinary collapse saw them concede three late goals and bow out of the competition.