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Euro 2008

Sverkos gives Czech Republic opening win

  • Story Highlights
  • Czech Republic beat co-hosts Switzerland 1-0 in Euro 2008 opener
  • Substitute Vaclav Sverkos scores only goal of the game in 70th minute
  • Switzerland captain Alexander Frei to miss remainder of tournament
  • Portugal beat Turkey 2-0 in other Group A game on Saturday
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(CNN) -- Czech Republic substitute Vaclav Sverkos stunned Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland with the only goal of the opening game in Basle on Saturday.

Sverkos provided a moment of inspiration for the Czechs to secure victory.

Sverkos, playing only his fourth game for the Czechs, reacted quickest as the ball was headed back into the danger area by Tomas Galasek and volleyed home the 70th minute opener.

It was the Banik Ostrava man's first international goal and gives the Czechs a crucial three points ahead of other Group A matches against Portugal and Turkey.

It was harsh on Switzerrland who had created the better openings and restricted the Czechs to mainly long-range efforts.

"I told them they can leave the stadium with their heads held high," Swiss coach Kobi Kuhn said. "Now we have to forget about this game and concentrate on the next match, against Turkey.

"Our chances of going through have certainly not increased but we still believe. Everything is still possible and we are not going to give up. We must build on what we did here today."

To add to their gloom, the Swiss lost captain and leading striker Alexander Frei to injury just before halftime and he was later ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.

The Borussia Dortmund star, who had to battle injury to play in Euro 2008, was hurt after a foul challenge from Czech defender Zdenek Grygera.

He was substituted and limped off in tears with a knee ligament njury, later appearing on the Swiss bench with crutches.

Frei had been Switzerland's best player in the opening half, shooting just wide early on and then forcing Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech to come out of his goal to save with his legs.

Frei then almost deceived Cech with a long range shot that swerved awkwardy and forced the Chelsea man to punch clear.

Hakan Yakin, who came on as a replacement for Frei, wasted a golden opportunity to put the Kuhn's men ahead but headed wide with the goal at his mercy after an excellent cross from the right by Stephan Lichsteiner.

Sverkos's goal prompted a series of desperate Swiss attacks and midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta saw a fierce shot pushed away by Cech and from the follow up substitute Johan Volanthen volleyed against the crossbar.

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Switzerland had a late penalty appeal turned down and at the final whistle it was veteran Czech coach Karel Bruckner and his men who were celebrating.

"This was not our best," Bruckner told the Associated Press.

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