Player to watch: Tomas Rosicky
Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky's resurgence comes at the right time for Czech Republic whose fate at the Euro 2012 finals squarely rests on their diminutive captain's shoulders.
Slowed by injuries the past few years, Rosicky shone in wins over Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan when the crafty midfielder both scored and set up goals. The goal against Tottenham in February was the first time Rosicky had found the net in a league game in two years.
Known for his vision, pinpoint passing and laser-accurate first touch, the player dubbed 'Little Mozart' during his spell at Borussia Dortmund is the man the Czechs are counting on to orchestrate a successful tournament.
The Czechs will face Russia, Poland and Greece in the group stage at the tournament being held in Poland and Ukraine.
"Some players would be difficult to replace," Vladimir Smicer, the Czech team manager and former Liverpool player told Reuters. "If Rosicky is injured, it would be a big missing piece for us."
Czech coach Michal Bilek has surely breathed a sigh of relief now that Rosicky, 31, who missed Euro 2008 due to injury, has re-discovered his touch after dealing with a lingering hamstring problem that limited him for both club and country.
Rosicky, who made his international debut at age 19, has scored 20 times for the national side and the experienced midfielder when fit creates headaches for opposing defenders and makes the Czechs a far more dangerous side.
Baros, the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2004, has only scored twice for the national team in the past two years but with no one waiting in the wings to supplant him the Czechs will rely on the pacy player to regain his scoring touch.
There are no such concerns about Cech, whose performances at Chelsea have established him as one of the top goalies in the English Premier League. Cech has been a stalwart for the national team since making his debut in 2002.
The tournament also represents a chance for a new generation of Czech footballers to make their names on the international stage. Recent Wolfsburg signing Petr Jiracek is one many believe has the ability to shine
The lively midfielder made his debut for the national team in 2011 and scored his first goal in a 1-0 Euro qualifier win over Montenegro.
His performances on the wing for Pilsen, where he gained Champions League experience this season, attracted the attention of Bundesliga side Wolfsburg who signed him on a four-and-a-half year deal in December.