Czech Republic pinned down Netherlands in their 2016 qualifying match in a game that came out with a very surprising result as the team that came in 3rd place during the 2014 edition of the World Cup lost against a side that did not even manage to qualify into the worldwide tournament.
Netherlands travelled to the Generali Arena in order to play one of their 2016 qualifying matches against Czech Republic and it a dramatic last few minutes of game a late goal from Pilar secured the victory for the hosts.
The 25 year old midfielder Borek Dockal who plays for Sparta Prague kicked things off for Czech Republic as he scored the opening goal of the match after 21 minutes had passed with a left-footed strike that managed to get it’s way into the net of Netherlands’ goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen who could do nothing to deny the ball from passing the goal-line.
Memphis Depay was without doubt the best player in the pitch for Netherlands as he constantly tried to break upfront and find space to score but the player of PSV was denied over and over by Petr Cech.
As the timer ticked down Netherlands continuously tried to get back in the game and pushed more players upfront with hopes of achieving their objective and Stefan de Vrij accomplished the task as he scored the equalizing goal through a header at the 55th minute and was able to connect with the cross that was launched by Daley Blind and put it past Petr Cech.
The match was reaching its last stages and both sides seemed to be rather content with a draw but a mistake from the defender of Netherlands, Daryl Janmaat awarded the victory to Czech Republic. The defender of Newcastle United made a surprising blunder with a header that fell right into the path of Stefan de Vrij as the 25 year old midfielder did not hesitate in scoring from close range a late goal that gifted Czech Republic the crucial victory in their journey of making it into the 2016 Euro’s.
Belgian international Thibaut Courtois, who has returned to Chelsea, says that he wants to challenge Petr Cech for the first-team spot while also learning from the Czech Republic stopper. Cech is regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers in modern history. The 32-year-old, however, has not been up to his usual standards since the horrific head injury that he suffered in 2007. This has not stopped him from being a regular first-team player for Chelsea and he has been quite successful as well. Over the last decade, he has won several trophies with the blues including the Champions League in 2012.
However, his position at the club is being challenged after the return of Courtois. The Belgian international has matured into one of the finest goalkeepers after his three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid. Signed as a 19-year-old from Belgian club Genk, even Chelsea would not have imagined the swift progress from the goalkeeper. Due to his age, he is seen as the natural replacement for Cech, but that replacement could come sooner than expected. It is highly speculated that Courtois will be Chelsea’s number one from the new season while Cech is expected to be sold.
Courtois, though, says that Cech still remains a great goalkeeper and he wants to learn from him.
“Petr has had a really nice 10 years here. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Every goalkeeper can have a type of thing they are usually good at so when you see them train you can learn from them. It helps you during your training. I signed with Chelsea three years ago but because of the loan it took until today to have my first training session, so I’m really happy to be here. There will be a battle to be in the starting XI but that’s good,” said Courtois.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento has confirmed that he will not resign from his post should Portugal fail to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup. The team were disastrous start to the World Cup 2014 after losing their opening match against Germany 4-0. Since then, it has been downhill for the Portuguese, but they did manage a late equaliser against United States to get at least a point from the match. They go into the final match against Ghana looking to get a victory. However, they will be able to qualify only if other results go their way.
United States take on Germany in the other match and Portugal need a combination of several results coupled with a high-scoring win over the in order to take them into the last 16. As it is almost certain that they will be returning home much earlier than expected, pressure is on Bento to resign. However, he has confirmed that he will remain in the job as long as the Portuguese football Federation want him. Portugal have been one of the disappointing aspects of the World Cup. Much was expected from Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the tournament, but he has failed to score in the opening two matches.
It also has been a major reason behind Portugal’s poor form. “What exactly do you want me to answer? If I’m going to continue with the team? I have repeated many times, the situation is very specific, very peaceful. The federation trust me and the president trusts me, this goes way back. The same with the qualification, [before the crucial matches] against Azerbaijan and Israel. They never failed to trust me and they trust me now,” said Bento.
Portugal went into the play-off match against Sweden in a similar situation, but they won it quite comfortably.