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USA 0 - 3 Czech Republic

Czech Republic got off to a flying start with a fabulous victory over USA.

Giant striker Jan Koller headed home a Zdenek Grygera cross after five minutes before Tomas Rosicky's 30-yard screamer doubled their half-time advantage.

After Koller went off injured Tomas Ujfalusi headed wide and Rosicky hit the bar, before racing through and chipping over Kasey Keller to seal it.

USA captain Claudio Reyna saw a 25-yard shot cannon back off a post in the first half, but they were well beaten.

It was the first meeting between the two sides since the 1990 World Cup, when the Czechs won 5-1, though they were Czechoslovakia then.

They were always in charge in Gelsenkirchen, too, with Juventus playmaker Pavel Nevded dictating the game as he pushed further forward in the absence of injured striker Milan Baros.

With five minutes on the clock Nedved fed in Grygera and the full-back's inch-perfect right-wing cross was clinically headed home by 6ft 7in Koller.

USA enjoyed plenty of possession, but the Czechs - and the brilliant Nedved in particular - always had another gear to move into.

His outrageous outside-of-the-foot cross landed on Grygera's head, but he could only nod over.

The Americans so nearly made them pay moments later, Reyna drilling a 25-yard daisy-cutter that crashed back into play off Petr Cech's right-hand post with the Chelsea stopper beaten.

"Jan
Koller heads home the opener

Nine minutes before half-time it was game over, Rosicky taking aim 30 yards from goal and rifling a right-foot rocket past Keller.

Czech Republic were denied their perfect half when Koller clutched his hamstring in agony and was stretchered off - an injury that could end his tournament.

But with Vratislav Lokvenc on in his place it was business as usual after half-time and it was nearly 3-0 when Ujfalusi glanced a header wide from a free-kick.

The Czechs were rampant and they had several chances to further underline their superiority.

Nedved exquisitely played in Lokvenc, who could only shoot tamely at Keller, before Jaroslav Plasil crossed for Karel Poborsky to volley over from a tight angle.

Rosicky nearly did it again from distance, this time the Arsenal midfielder letting fly from 25 yards only to see the ball smack against the crossbar.

He eventually wrapped it with up with 14 minutes left, surging on to another majestic Nedved pass and sublimely toe-poking past Keller into the roof of the net.


USA: Keller, Onyewu, Mastroeni (Johnson 45), Pope, Cherundolo (O'Brien 45), Reyna, Beasley, Convey, Lewis, McBride (Wolff 77), Donovan.
Subs Not Used: Albright, Berhalter, Bocanegra, Ching, Conrad, Dempsey, Hahnemann, Howard, Olsen.

Booked: Onyewu, Reyna.


Czech Republic: Cech, Grygera, Rozehnal, Ujfalusi, Jankulovski, Poborsky (Polak 82), Galasek, Rosicky (Stajner 86), Plasil, Nedved, Koller (Lokvenc 45).
Subs Not Used: Baros, Blazek, Heinz, Jarolim, Jiranek, Kinsky, Kovac, Mares, Sionko.

Booked: Rozehnal, Lokvenc, Rosicky, Grygera.

Goals: Koller 5, Rosicky 36, 76.


Att: 52,000.

Fifa man of the match: Tomas Rosicky.



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