Tomáš Souček

Souček and Coufal feature as Czech Republic narrowly defeated by Portugal

West Ham United duo Tomáš Souček and Vladimír Coufal both completed the full 90 minutes as the Czech Republic’s UEFA Euro 2024 campaign began with an agonising 2-1 defeat to a strong Portugal side.

Midfielder Souček lined up as captain of his country in Leipzig, and contributed four tackles, four clearances and 25 passes, while Coufal made his mark by assisting the evening’s opening goal.

The Czech Republic frustrated Portugal’s star-studded line-up - featuring the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes - during a goalless first hour, and duly went in front shortly after with their first shot on target when Coufal teed up an eye-catching Lukáš Provod strike from 25 yards.

Champions eight years ago however, Portugal were always likely to come back fighting, and their pressure ultimately resulted in an equaliser in the 70th minute when a Jindřich Staněk save ricocheted off defender Robin Hranáč for an own-goal.

A late Diogo Jota strike was ruled out for offside against Ronaldo just three minutes from time, and though it looked like the Czechs might be set for a valuable point, their hearts were broken by substitute Francisco Conceição who notched the winner two minutes into stoppage time.

Despite the late disappointment, Souček, Coufal and their teammates will look to take the positives from a largely impressive display when they return to action in Group F against Georgia on Saturday 22 June (2pm BST), before their final group-stage clash against Turkey on Wednesday 26 June (8pm BST).


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