Saturday, June 7
Kick off: 17:00 BST
Group A Table:
The long wait will be over when UEFA EURO 2008™ opens in Basel on 7 June
with the Group A encounter between the Czech Republic
and tournament co-hosts Switzerland at St. Jakob-Park.
• Jakob Kuhn
side will be desperate for a positive start to 'their' tournament
when they raise the curtain on the 31-match, 23-day football festival, yet they face daunting opposition in a Czech Republic
who reached the semi-finals at UEFA EURO 2004™ and finished as one of the seven group winners in qualifying for this event.
qualified automatically for the finals as co-hosts.
This is their third finals appearance and they will be hoping it proves third time lucky after two previous first-round exits in 1996 and 2004,
on both occasions following up an opening draw with two defeats.
• Karel Brückner
's Czech Republic
side qualified as winners of Group D, where they finished two points clear of Germany
having won nine and lost just one of 12 qualifying games.
They sealed their finals place in memorable fashion on 17 October 2007, beating Germany 3-0 in Munich through goals from Libor Sionko,
and Jaroslav Plašil
• This is the Czechs
' fourth successive appearance in the UEFA European Championship finals,
their best performance to date coming in 1996 when they finished runners-up to Germany following a 2-1 final defeat at Wembley Stadium.
After a first-round exit in 2000, the Czechs
reached the last four in 2004, where they succumbed 1-0 to eventual winners Greece
• As part of the former state of Czechoslovakia
football celebrated winning the European crown in 1976.
defeated West Germany
in the final that year, Antonín Panenka
's spot-kick securing a 5-3 shoot-out triumph
following a 2-2 draw in Belgrade.
reached the Round of 16 of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
's men won their group – drawing with France
and beating Togo
and Korea Republic
– but then went down to Ukraine
in a penalty shoot-out
in which they failed to score, following a goalless draw.
That stalemate on 26 June 2006, which marked their most recent competitive appearance, meant they exited the finals without conceding a goal.
• The Czech Republic
had a disappointing World Cup campaign in 2006, falling at the group stage after the promise of an opening win
against the United States
vanished with defeats by Ghana
have faced the Czech Republic
three times before,
with the Swiss winning their first contest in Zurich 3-0 in April 1994.
then recorded a 2-1 victory in Basel
in June 1996 before prevailing 3-0 in their most recent meeting in Drnovice on 18 August 1999.
international Jan Koller
broke the deadlock, before a Stefan Wolf
own goal and Miroslav Baranek
effort completed the scoring.
• The teams for that 1999 fixture were:
Ladislav Maier, Marek Nikl, Jan Suchopárek, Pavel Nedvěd (Pavel Horváth), Karel Rada, Radek Slončík (Tomáš Galásek), Jiří Němec (Roman Tıce),
Karel Poborskı (Miroslav Baranek), Pavel Kuka (René Wagner),
Jan Koller (Vratislav Lokvenc), Radek Bejbl.
Stefan Huber (Andreas Hilfiker), Sebastien Jeanneret (Marco Zwyssig), Régis Rothenbühler (Thomas Wyss), Stefan Wolf, Marc Hodel,
Johann Vogel (Boris Smiljanic), Fabio Celestini, Raphael Wicky, Stéphane Chapuisat (Alexandre Rey),
Ciriaco Sforza, Alexandre Comisetti (Sascha Müller).
had an inferior record against Czechoslovakia
, their 27 matches played between 1924 and 1991
producing seven wins, six draws and 14 defeats.
• The only match between Switzerland
at a major tournament was the 1934 World Cup quarter-final between the sides, which Czechoslovakia
• This Group A match pits several club colleagues against each other, with Christoph Spycher
(SUI) and Martin Fenin
playing together at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Depending on his recovery from injury, Switzerland
defender Patrick Müller
could face his former Olympique Lyonnais
team-mate Milan Baroš
in the Czech
• Philipp Degen
(SUI) and Jan Koller
(CZE) played together at BV Borussia Dortmund,
while Alexander Frei
(SUI) and Petr Čech
(CZE) were colleagues at Stade Rennais FC
• Philippe Senderos
was part of the Arsenal FC
team that beat AC Sparta Praha 3-0 in London
in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on 29 August 2007.
duo Michal Kadlec
and Zdenĕk Pospĕch
all featured on the losing side.
pair Tomáš Galásek
and Jan Polák
were in the 1. FC Nürnberg
team that got the better of Swiss
international Ludovic Magnin
's VfB Stuttgart
side with a 3-2 victory in the 2007 German Cup final.
's Johan Vonlanthen
holds the record for being the youngest goalscorer at a UEFA European Championship final tournament.
He was 18 years and 141 days old when he found the net in Switzerland
's 3-1 defeat by France on 21 June 2004.
• The host team have won the opening match only twice in six attempts since the tradition was established in 1984.
(1984) and Belgium
(2000) both recorded victories, with three draws and one defeat for the hosts.
That loss came in 2004 when Portugal
went down 2-1 to Greece
• Only Spain
(1968 and France
(1984) have claimed the European title as hosts.
• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth edition that features a final tournament with a group phase.
LAST FIVE RESULTS: