Czech manager Michal Bilek breathed a sigh of relief as the Czechs put their 3-0 humping from Norway behind them and snatched a 2-2 draw at Hampden Park. The Czechs were good value for the draw despite their defence looking like a group of players who had just met. Scotland on the other hand were lacking creativity and imagination, something which Craig Levein is not. The Scot has grand plans to overhaul the way Scotland play, aiming to the use the fluid tika taka style of the Spanish as a template – the only similarity with Spain and Scotland right now is they both start with the letter S.
The Czech Republic travelled to Scotland knowing that defeat would blow the race for second place wide open. Scotland were hoping to take advantage of the Czech’s fragile confidence and exact revenge for their 1-0 defeat in Prague last year. The first half was dominated by the Czechs – Milan Baros had a glourious chance after just three minutes but somehow blazed his effort over the bar. Scotland were organized defensively, yet uninspiring going forward. Charlie Adam was sitting too deep and was unable to control the game from his own 18 yard line. Whereas the left hand side the Czech Republic was getting a lot of joy – Jiracek and Kadlec were linking up well and looked a constant threat.
Yet it was Scotland who took a fortunate lead just before half time, Petr Cech would have been watching on in horror as his replacement Jan Laštůvka gifted the Scots the opening goal. Laštůvka stuck out a leg as he attempted to save Kenny Miller’s weak shot, Hampden Park erupted when the ball hit the Czech net. One nil. It was a perfect time to score.
The second half should have seen Scotland take control of the game but shock horror – Michal Bilek made a substitution which swung the game back in the Czechs favour. Jan Rezek replaced former Plzen team mate Milan Petržela and it was Rezek who was instrumental in hauling the Czechs back into the game. With 12 minutes left Rezek supplied the ball into Jaroslav Plasil’s path who bundled home the equalizer to make it 1-1.
There was still time for Kenny Miller to setup Darren Fletcher to give Scotland the lead once more, it should have been game over. But referee and Ronald Koeman lookalike made an horrendous decision when awarding the Czechs a last minute penalty. Tomas Rosicky played the ball of the game into Rezek’s path who dived after Danny Wilson’s attempted challenge in the box.
Michal Kadlec stepped up and smashed the ball into the roof of net – 2-2 and Bilek still remains in a job, for now. Just moments afterwards, Scotland’s Berra rampaged into the Czech penalty area and decided to emulate Rezek’z dive moments earlier, this time though, the referee was correct in booking the lumbering Scottish oaf for his theatrical dive.
The 2-2 result was a fair reflection of the game, even if the Czechs were fortunate in receiving that 90th minute penalty. After the game, Craig Levein was furious with the referee for not awarding Scotland a penalty, as even HE saw it from 50 fifty yards away that Berra’s ankle was clipped. When in truth, it was a dive that Tom Daley would have been proud of.
nstead of lambasting the ref, Levein should take a closer look at his own teams performance and figure out how they couldn’t beat a distinctly poor Czech side who couldn’t find the net against Japan, Peru and Norway in recent games.