With thanks to the Czech Republic the Dutch national football team stay in the European championship. To the delight of the many Dutch fans the players heard after their victory against Latvia (3-0) that the Czechs had defeated Germany (2-1). Tomás Galásek started for the Czech Republic, Wesley Sneijder came on as a substitute for Holland.
Not Germany, but Holland face Sweden, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in the quarter final on Saturday. Although the Czech Republic played without nine of their normal starters, amongst whom Zdenek Grygera, Germany was not able to get the win they needed to stay ahead of Holland. Germany took the lead through Ballack, but Heinz and Baros made sure that Tomás Galásek could keep his promise to his Ajax-teammates that the Czechs would win so Holland could go through.
All Holland had to do was to defeat Latvia. Johnny Heitinga was suspended and Michael Reiziger took the place of the Ajax defender. Holland took the lead when Van Nistelrooy scored a penalty after Davids had been brought down. And eight minutes later it was again Van Nistelrooy who scored, after Cocu touched the ball to the striker.
In the second half Holland struggled a bit, until Overmars, Makaay and Wesley Sneijder came on for van der Meyde, Van Nistelrooy and Davids. Roy Makaay scored Holland's third goal. But the real celebrations began when the word came that the Czech Republic was winning against Germany.
Holland - Latvia 3-0 (2-0). 27. Van Nistelrooij 1-0 (penalty), 35. Van Nistelrooij 2-0, 84. Makaay 3-0. Referee: Nielsen (Den). Att.: 30.000.
Holland: Van der Sar; Reiziger, Stam, De Boer and Van Bronckhorst; Seedorf, Cocu and Davids (77. Sneijder); Van der Meyde (62. Overmars), Van Nistelrooij (70. Makaay) and Robben.
Latvia: Kolinko; Isakovs, Zemlinskis, Stepanovs and Blagonadezdins; Bleidelis (83. Stolcers), Lobanovs, Astajevs and Rubins; Verpakovskis (62. Pahars) and Prohorenkovs (74. Laizans).
Germany - Czech Republic 1-2 (1-1). 21. Ballack 1-0, 30. Heinz 1-1, 77. Baros 1-2. Referee: Hauge (Noo). Att.: 46.849. Yellow card: Nowotny, Lahm, Wörns (Germany), Tyce (Czech R.).
Germany: Kahn; Friedrich, Nowotny, Wörns and Lahm; Frings (46. Podolski), Hamann (79. Klose), Schneider, Ballack and Schweinsteiger (86. Jeremies); Kuranyi.
Czech Rep.: Blazek; Jiranek, Bolf, Galásek (46. Hobschman) and Rozehnal; Vachousek, Mares, Tyce and Plasil (70. Poborsky); Lokvenc (59. Baros) and Heinz.
Czech Rep. 3 3 0 0 9 (7-4)
Holland 3 1 1 1 4 (6-4)
Germany 3 0 2 1 2 (2-3)
Latvia 3 0 1 2 1 (1-5)
Photo: PRO SHOTS/Stanley Gontha