Maybe Latvia should just avoid the Czech Republic in athletic contests. Two months ago, the Czechs beat Latvia in the world ice hockey championship. And now, in Latvia’s first-ever match in a European football (soccer) championship, the Czechs have done it again.
The Czech Republic beat Latvia 2-1 in a June 15 game played in Averio, Portugal, as part of the 16-team Euro 2004 football championship.
Latvia may have been a long shot going into the Euro 2004 football (soccer) championship, but by the start of the tournament plenty of observers were being careful to not ignore the first-time contenders. Call it the jinx factor.
Latvia surprised the Czechs just as the first half was coming to an end, when forward Māris Verkapovskis picked up a pass from Andrejs Prohorenkovs to score the country’s only goal, according to the official Euro 2004 Web site.
But the Czechs came back 28 minutes into the second half, when Milan Baroš got the ball past Latvian goalkeeper Aleksandrs Koliņko, and then again 12 minutes later on a kick from Marek Heinz.
The Czechs outshot Latvia 28-7, according to game statistics, while the Latvian committed 20 fouls to the Czechs’ 11. The Czechs controlled the ball for 64 percent of the game.
Latvia’s next game in Group D preliminary competition is June 19. Latvia plays Germany in a game beginning at 17:00 local time in Besso stadium in Porto. Latvia’s last preliminary match is June 23 against the Netherlands in a game starting at 19:45 local time in Braga Municipal stadium in Braga.
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