Goalkeeper Petr Cech has tried
out a specially-designed mask to protect his broken nose and
allow him to try to play for the Czech Republic in their Euro
2012 playoff against Montenegro on Friday.
The Chelsea player, however, was not completely confident of
being ready for the first leg of the play-off.
"If the game was today I would not be able to play," Cech,
who broke his nose against Blackburn Rovers in a Premier League
game on Saturday, told a news conference on Wednesday.
"The mask will protect me from further injury but if I will
be 100 percent I do not know. And in the play-offs you have to
give 100 percent."
Czech coach Michal Bilek, already without suspended
midfielder Tomas Hubschman, said of Cech: "I hope he will be
ready; his presence on the pitch is very important for us
because he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world."
If Cech cannot play, Bilek will turn to Hamburg SV's
Jaroslav Drobny who started in the country's 2-2 draw with
Scotland in qualifying.
Montenegro, aiming to reach their first major tournament
since splitting from union with Serbia in 2006, also face injury
worries with defender Marko Basa nursing a shoulder problem.
Coach Branko Brnovic has included DC United midfielder
Branko Boskovic, who should add depth in the playmaking
department even though the 31-year-old player was sidelined for
almost a year with a serious knee injury.
The addition of Boskovic, who replaces Olympiakos's Petar
Grbic, is the only change to the squad for the game in which
Montenegro will be looking to slow down the Czech Republic's
Arsenal playmaker Tomas Rosicky.
"We analysed them and noticed that Rosicky is a real leader
in midfield," Brnovic said.
"If we neutralise him we have more chance. Generally
speaking, the Czech team are very well organised, getting
players behind the ball."
The Czechs, who won the tournament in 1976, will travel to
Podgorica four days later for the return leg.
Montenegro, having registered just one win in 10 games on
their debut in 2010 World Cup qualifiers, have impressed in
their Euro 2012 campaign, especially in a pair of draws with
group winners England.
Central defender Miodrag Dzudovic said the team would have
to repeat those performances if they were to eliminate the Czech
Republic and reach next year's finals in Poland and Ukraine.
"We are looking at two very difficult games and unless the
entire team plays to the best of our abilities, we have a very
slim chance of beating the Czechs," he said.
"We have a realistic chance if we stick to our 'all for one
and one for all' mentality.
"Of course it would be great to keep a clean sheet in the
first leg in Prague but that doesn't mean we should sit back and
defend, because our strikers Mirko Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic
are the team's two outstanding players," he said.
Czech Republic: Petr Cech, Theodor Gebreselassie, Tomas Sivok, Jan Rajnoch,
Michal Kadlec, Petr Jiracek, Jan Rezek, Tomas Rosicky, Daniel
Kolar, Vaclav Pilar, Milan Baros
Montenegro: Mladen Bozovic; Stefan Savic, Marko Basa, Miodrag Dzudovic,
Milan Jovanovic; Milorad Pekovic, Elsad Zverotic, Vladimir
Bozovic, Simon Vukcevic; Stevan Jovetic, Mirko Vucinic.
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