The Czechs were hammered, smashed, thumped, blitzed – however you want to describe it – and nobody was happier than myself after backing Russia at a tasty price pre-tournament, but I still believe the Czechs can bounce back.
Call me crazy, but I saw more potential in the Czech team than I did in either Greece or Poland during their 1-1 draw.
I think the Czechs were up against a Russian side who, on the night, were very, very good, and both Greece and Poland will do well to get anything from their match-ups with Dick Advocaat’s men.
After a decent start, the Czechs were pulled apart by a fluid Russian team, who attacked on the counter attack with speed and precision, and were made to look less than average. But it’s important to remember that neither Greece or Poland will offer the same test to the Czechs, and Bilek does have players in his squad, such as goalscorer Vaclav Pilar and exciting full-back Theodor Gebre Selassie, who can hurt the opposition.
They will certainly have to improve on Friday’s efforts though if they are to get through and Bilek will have to make some changes to his tactics and line-up.
Marauding full-back Michal Kadlec will need to show much more discipline than he did against Russia. He will surely be told to hold his position in the defensive line and keep closer to the two central defenders.
He was a weak point in the Czech side against Russia and time and time again, he was caught out of position and balls were played in behind him. On numerous occasions, he became detached from the other three defenders and he will have surely received a dressing down from Bilek and his coaching team.
I would also switch lone striker Milan Baros for Tomas Pekhart or Tomas Necid.
Baros was badly detached in the opening game and the Czechs might as well have played with 10 men. Pekhart or Necid would offer much more of an all-round threat and this will be vital if Bilek, as expected, continues to play a solitary frontman.
Half-time substitute Tomas Hubschman should also get a starting berth after he steadied the ship.
Defensive shield Hubschman offered the Czechs a more balanced look after the break and despite still conceding two second-half goals – they were chasing the game – they looked a more resolute unit.
A few minor changes could make all the difference, and I think the Czechs at 9/4 are a real value bet to make the last eight.
You can follow Matty on Twitter at @MattPBriggs.