Czech Rep v Portugal prevew
Knockout rounds kick off at Warsaw's National Stadium
Last Updated: June 21, 2012 10:42am
The Euro 2012 quarter-finals get under way on Thursday when the Czech Republic take on Portugal at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
Both teams arrive at knockout stage having bounced back from opening defeats in their respective groups to win their other two games.
Portugal were beaten 1-0 by Germany in their first outing but stormed back with victories over Denmark and Holland to finish second in Group B.
The Czechs reached the last eight as Group A winners, rebounding from an opening 4-1 defeat to Russia to beat Greece and co-hosts Poland.
The clash is a repeat of the Euro 1996 quarter-final, when the Czech Republic stunned the Portuguese with a 1-0 win thanks to Karel Poborsky's memorable scoop goal.
Their only other meeting since the split of Czechoslovakia 19 years ago came at the 2008 tournament, when Portugal gained revenge with a 3-1 victory in the group stage.
Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek firmly believes his side can beat Portugal provided they repeat their recent performances, despite going into the encounter as underdogs.
"Portugal are favourites, they have strong players," said Bilek.
"But if we repeat the performances against Greece and Poland then we have a good chance of going through."
Bilek believes his team will have to play a defensive game and make the most of their chances.
"I think the key to our recent victories has been on defence," he said. "In our first game we left too many spaces and Russia punished us (4-1).
"We learned a lot from that game and I'm sure we will not make the same mistakes."
The Czechs have been dealt a blow with the news Tomas Rosicky will not feature in the starting line-up after struggling to make a full recovery from an Achilles injury.
The Arsenal midfielder, who flew back to Prague earlier this week to receive treatment, left his decision until after training on Thursday morning because he wanted to see how the injury would react.
Team manager Vladimir Smicer told Czech Television: "Tomas will certainly not play from the first minute. But if we should be in trouble towards the end of the match we might use him."
Rosicky expects his side to be put to the test by a very good Portuguese team.
"Portugal is going to be a more difficult rival than the ones we have faced so far in the competition," he said.
"But this is our chance and we will fight until the end."
Portugal go into the contest on a high after Sunday's 2-1 triumph over Holland which saw them progress from Group B as runners-up behind Germany.
However, coach Paolo Bento was keen to play down expectations on his side.
"We are not getting carried away by the euphoria," he said. "We are satisfied and proud of what we have done so far.
"We had a chance to celebrate that result but that time has passed and we are just focusing on what is ahead.
"The game gives us a chance to play for a semi-final spot.
"I am confident that we will play in the same manner we have done so far, with consistency and humility.
"If we don't win, we will compliment our opponents."
Bento believes it will take a team effort to see his players reach the last four of the competition.
"We always try to defend and to attack with the maximum number of players possible," he said.
"We have to use our strengths and try to hide our weaknesses."
Bento has no injury worries and is expected to field Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo in support of Helder Postiga up front.
Ronaldo scored twice against Holland to increase his tally for Portugal to 34 goals.
European Championships Group A
European Championships Group B
European Championships Group C
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European Championships Group D
Czech Republic v Portugal
Portugal head coach Paulo Bento paid tribute to his side's performance as they reached the European Championship semi-finals.
Michal Bilek admitted Portugal were the better side but bemoaned the "one situation" that saw his Czech team eliminated from Euro 2012
We discuss the main talking points from Portugal's 1-0 win in their Euro 2012 quarter-final.