Cech hopes to inspire new generation at Euro 2016

Scott Anderson
Petr Cech: Focused on domestic career only

Petr Cech is hoping to inspire a new generation of footballers as Czech Republic aim for success at Euro 2016.

Cech was 14 when his nation reached the final of Euro 96, only to be beaten in extra-time against Germany due to the “golden goal” rule.

Cech claims that he “almost caught a fever” watching the tournament, and admitted that it had a big impact on the players who achieved the unprecedented feat.

Now Cech hopes to replicate that success and says that doing well in big tournaments can “open up opportunities” for players.

Speaking to Arsenal Player, Cech said: “I almost caught a fever watching every game because it was so tense, hoping that we would do well.

“Once we got past Portugal in the quarter-finals and beat France on penalties in the semi-finals, everybody thought, ‘What’s going on?’

“The only pity about it was that we were 1-0 up in the final and we conceded a few minutes before the end from a free-kick.

“They lost the final but obviously it’s one of the moments where you sat at home and thought, ‘It would be brilliant if one day I could play at the Euros for the national team’.

“It had a big impact on the players’ careers. Nedved went to Italy after that game because he scored, Poborsky went to Manchester United, and there were plenty of others going to big clubs.

“Once you have this opportunity for the players to go to play at top teams, it opens doors for everyone else.

“It’s amazing how tournaments like that can open up opportunities, not only for the players who played but also for younger players and the new generation.

“This [summer’s tournament] is a huge opportunity for those guys who dreamed about going abroad, playing in big leagues. We have some in Germany, some in Turkey, me and Tomas are the only ones currently in the Premier League.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us to show that we can play at the highest level. Maybe it can help open more doors for the younger generation.”