They fell agonizingly short of claiming a famous trophy at Euro 96 but they won plenty of people round to their talents. Euro 2020 fans can book England Vs Czech Republic Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Gone are the days of clubs signing a player off the back of a handful of strong showings at an international tournament. With armies of scouts assigned to countries around the world, analysts poring over reams of data and football matches from the English Premier League to Ecuador’s Serie A beamed out on television screens across continents.

 Patrik Berger of Czech Republic become household name after finish runners-up in the final to Germany in Euro 96
Patrik Berger of Czech Republic become household name after finish runners-up in the final to Germany in Euro 96

There is simply no need for clubs to gamble on a player with a handful of strong showings under their belt. Before the mass monetization and globalization of football, though, that wasn’t the case. Euro 2020 fans can book England Euro Cup Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Numerous players used continental or global competitions as a shop window to further their careers, including a whole host of Czech Republic’s stars from their Euro 96 campaign.

Little was known of Dusan Uhrin’s squad pre-tournament but by the end of it, the likes of Patrik Berger, Karel Poborsky and Pavel Nedved had become household names after the Czech Republic defied predictions of a group stage elimination to finish runners-up in the final to Germany.

Before their opening game – a 2-0 defeat to Germany at Old Trafford – no fewer than 15 of the Czech Republic’s squad plied their trade in their homeland. Of the remaining seven, five including Berger were based in Germany, captain Vaclav Nemecek played for Servette in Switzerland and backup goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek of Newcastle United was the sole representative from the Premier League.

Patrik Berger of Czech Republic become household name after finish runners-up in the final to Germany in Euro 96
Vladimir Smicer of Czech Republic become household name after finish runners-up in the final to Germany in Euro 96

The Czechs responded well to that opening defeat, beating Italy, but required an 88th-minute equalizer from Vladimir Smicer during a topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Russia at Anfield to squeeze into the knockout rounds. From that point, they tightened up considerably, edging Portugal 1-0 at Villa Park courtesy of Karel Poborsky’s stunning lob before seeing off future world champions 6-5 on penalties at Old Trafford to set up a reunion with the Germans.

The underdogs went in front on 59 minutes through a ferocious Berger penalty after Poborsky had been sent flying by a mistimed Matthias Sammer lunge. However, Oliver Bierhoff played the role of super-sub, scoring the equalizer to force extra-time and then the golden goal winner to crush the Czech’s hopes.

Although the players ultimately fell short it was remarkable just how many of them earned big moves off the back of their performances. Of the dozen players involved at Wembley, seven joined new clubs ahead of the 1996-97 season. Only Berger had been contracted to a club outside of his homeland, having joined Borussia Dortmund the previous summer.

 Patrik Berger of Czech Republic become household name after finish runners-up in the final to Germany in Euro 96
Pavel Nedved of Czech Republic become household name after finish runners-up in the final to Germany in Euro 96

Except for Poborsky, who was unable to dislodge David Beckham during an underwhelming two-season stint with Manchester United, they all prospered at their new clubs. Poborsky did go on to have an excellent career post-Old Trafford, it must be said, enjoying fruitful spells with Benfica and Lazio before returning home.

Berger quickly established himself at Liverpool following a £3.25m move from Dortmund, amassing just shy of 200 appearances and winning a treble of trophies in 2001 before spells with Portsmouth and Aston Villa. Euro 2020 fans can book the Czech Republic Euro Cup Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

Central defender Jan Supocharek also moved to France, joining RC Strasbourg who enjoyed a period of stability in mid-table in Ligue 1 during his three years there. Goalkeeper Petr Kouba signed for Deportivo La Coruna, left and then returned in time for their historic first and only La Liga title in 2000.

The star of the side, Pavel Nedved, meanwhile, went to Rome, to play for Lazio, whose owner Sergio Cragnotti was investing heavily in the squad year-in, year-out. Nedved was an integral part of Lazio’s golden period, winning seven honors including a first Serie A title in 26 years in 2000.

Before transferring to Juventus as Zinedine Zidane’s replacement. In 2003, he won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the first Czech player to do since Josef Masopust in 1962. Although the Czech’s thrilled at Euro 2004 reaching the semi-final, 1996 was the closest that clutch of players came to winning a major honor with their country.

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