Defences dominate

Cech and Rozehnal impress in defensive battle

Cech: In commanding form

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Petr Cech and David Rozehnal shone as Vaclav Sverkos' strike gave the Czech Republic a 1-0 win over Switzerland in the Euro 2008 opener.

Newcastle United fans would have been surprised to see that the Czech No. 22 was the same Rozehnal that appeared in the Magpies defence last season.

The 27-year-old failed to impress after Sam Allardyce signed him from Paris St Germain last summer and was sent on loan to Lazio for the second half of the season.

Lazio do not wish to pursue a permanent deal but Rozehnal appears destined to move on with Genoa and Siena interested in securing his services.

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A positive showing at Euro 2008 will increase Rozehnal's value and boost Kevin Keegan's transfer kitty, although the Newcastle boss may consider giving him another go at St James' Park if he produces more performances like this.

Rozehnal dealt comfortably with just about everything the Swiss threw his way and when the co-hosts did manage to unlock the Czech defence, Cech was in commanding form in the goal.

The Swiss did create more shooting opportunities but they were mostly long-range efforts and Chelsea goalkeeper Cech showed exactly why he is regarded as the one of the world's best keepers.

The 26-year-old made two comfortable saves early on before rushing out to deny Alexander Frei in the 21st minute on one of the rare occasions the Swiss got behind the Czech defence.

Cech then beat away a stinging long-range strike from Frei and denied Ludovic Magnin at the start of the second half, before producing a great save to turn away Tranquillo Barnetta's 20-yard volley late on.

Cech was relieved to see Johan Vonlanthen hit the bar from the rebound, with his only moment of uncertainty coming in the first minute of stoppage time.

Rarely troubled

The Swiss defence were also rarely troubled and Philippe Senderos showed no sign of the sloppiness that led to Arsenal's UEFA Champions League exit against Liverpool, although Jan Koller was hauled off for Sverkos in the 56th minute after a poor performance up front.

However, Senderos was required to make a timely challenge to clear from Libor Sionko and then breathed a sigh of relief when Jaroslav Plasil's cross sailed just beyond Koller in the 35th minute.

The 23-year-old defender did well to clear from Sverkos in the 69th minute, and although Sverkos opened the scoring following the resultant corner, the Czech substitute was not Senderos' man.

Manchester City's Gelson Fernandes had a big incentive to impress in the Swiss midfield with new City boss Mark Hughes in the process of assessing the Blues squad.

And although the 21-year-old did his best to dictate play in midfield, he gave the ball away far too often and was fortunate to avoid a booking after three first-half fouls.