Ruzicka Plays Down Czech Chances

01 July 2005

Czech Republic coach Jiri Ruzicka has played down suggestions that his side have any real chance of repeating the success of their compatriots four years ago by claiming the the Under-20 European Championship in Brno.

The Czech Under-20 team claimed the World Championship on home soil in Brno in 2001, but Ruzicka insists that it will be an achievement for the current crop of youngsters to reach the latter stages of the competition.

"We had a lot of luck four years ago," Ruzicka admitted.

"Our aim is to get through to the last eight this year.

"We do not have experienced players as we had four years ago and this tournament will be their first big test at international level."

Ruzicka predicts that Russia and France will reach the final and despite a recent 68-51 friendly win over Germany, he is not confident of her side's overall chances.

"My favourites for this championship are Russia and France and I expect those two teams to be in the final," he added.

"We lost a friendly game against France 79-38 during our preparation and I think that it was the worst performance from my team before the championship.

"I hope that we will play much better in Brno. We have Croatia, Romania and Spain in our group and I believe that we can finish in the second place at least."

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