Czechs beat Denmark, enter Euro semis

The Czech Republic completed the semifinal lineup of Euro 2004 with three goals in the second half to defeat Denmark 3-0.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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The Czech Republic completed the semifinal lineup of Euro 2004 with three goals in the second half, two from Milan Baros and the other from Jan Koller, to defeat Denmark 3-0. The final-four lineup is one of the most unusual in the history of the championships, with host Portugal facing the Netherlands and Greece playing the Czechs. Long gone from the tournament are defending champion France and four other powers, Italy, Spain, England and Germany. After a dismal first half in the quarterfinal at Dragao stadium in Porto, towering 6-foot-9 striker Koller opened the scoring in the 49th on a powerful header, and then Baros exploded with two goals to give him the tournament lead with five. He has scored in every game. "If somebody had told me before the tournament I would have scored five goals, I wouldn't have believed them," Baros said. "But dreams come true and I'm happy, but the most important thing is that we are in the semifinals and we will play against Greece and we will have to get ready for this game." Perfect scores In the 63rd, the Liverpool forward lifted the ball over keeper Thomas Soerensen as the Dane came out to challenge. Two minutes later, he left-footed a rising shot from 25-meters that Soerensen clipped with his fingertips as it sailed into the net. The victory kept the Czechs as the only team with a perfect record in the tournament, four wins. After trailing in their three group games against Germany, the Netherlands and Latvia, the Czechs got ahead in this one and stayed there. The Danes were unbeaten with two draws against Sweden and Italy and a victory over Bulgaria. Semi-final line ups The Netherlands faces host Portugal on Wednesday in Lisbon's Jose Alvalade stadium. The Czechs play Greece on Thursday in Porto's Dragao stadium with the final July 4 at Lisbon's Stadium of Light. The other semifinal matchup was completed on Saturday as the Netherlands ousted Sweden on penalties 5-4. After going 0-4 in previous shootouts in major championships, the Dutch finally delivered. The Netherlands had lost three previous shootouts to Denmark, France and Italy in European championships. They were also beaten by Brazil on penalties in the '98 World Cup. Sweden now knows the pain. The Swedes had won their only other shootout in a major championship, beating Romania in the '94 World Cup. Dutch 'keeper Edwin van der Sar was the hero. He guessed right and dived to his left to save a spot kick from Sweden captain Olof Mellberg to keep the shootout score tied at 4-4. (AP)