Roberto Martinez is daring to dream as Portugal prepare to open their Euro 2024 campaign, where ageing star Cristiano Ronaldo has been selected "on merit".

Portugal are the favourites to top Group F in Germany, opening their tournament against Czechia on Tuesday before facing Turkiye and Georgia.

Martinez's side were the only team to win 100 per cent of their games in the qualifying campaign (10/10), while they also scored more goals than any other team (36).

The former Belgium manager has major-tournament pedigree, too, guiding the Red Devils to third place at the 2018 World Cup and quarter-finals at Euro 2020.

Going further on this occasion remains at the forefront of the Spaniard's mind.

"We must believe, we need to dream big," the Portugal head coach said at Monday's pre-match press conference.

"If we don't dream big, then it will be tough. But we also owe it to everyone to play well.

"Tomorrow will be the right time to show that we're ready, that we can meet all the expectations. 

"I brought seven shirts, not three. But now we need to put it all out there on the pitch for these first three matches."

Portugal have the likes of Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Goncalo Ramos to call upon in attack, though a familiar face remains in Ronaldo.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner holds the record for most games (25), most goals (14), joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) and most editions with at least one goal (five) at the Euros.

Indeed, since 1972, Ronaldo has scored/assisted twice as many goals as any other player at this tournament: 20 in total (14 goals, six assists). Michel Platini is second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

Ronaldo is also the European player with the most appearances at major tournaments, World Cup and Euros combined (47), therefore his inclusion is hardly a surprise.

 

"Cristiano is in the national team on merit," Martinez added. "Nobody gets into the national team just by having a name.

"Cristiano scored 51 goals in 50 games [for Al-Nassr last season].

"For us he is a goalscorer, someone who can make that final move, someone who can really stretch defenders, really open spaces.

"Obviously, over the years Cristiano has changed his way of playing slightly, but I can only say that Cristiano is in the national team on merit and the numbers are there to back that up."

Ruben Dias says Ronaldo's influence spans further than his influence on the pitch, however.

"I would say he represents inspiration, he represents that everything is possible, he represents that you can dream and you can achieve it," the Manchester City defender said.

"It's obviously a pleasure to have him with us in this moment of his career. He represents to us that he really wants to win again and he's our captain and obviously we follow him to the end."

Overcoming Cristiano Ronaldo is among the main motivations for Czechia ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2024 clash with Portugal, says head coach Ivan Hasek.

Portugal have been touted as serious contenders to lift the trophy on July 14, but they first face group-stage clashes with Czechia, Turkiye and Georgia.

They will once again be captained by Ronaldo, who enters his 11th major tournament as their undisputed first-choice striker after being surprisingly dropped at the 2022 World Cup.

Ronaldo holds the records for most games (25), most goals (14) and joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) at the Euros, also scoring at a record five separate editions of the tournament. 

At World Cups and European Championships, the former Real Madrid and Manchester United man has made a total of 47 appearances, the most of any European player, while scoring 22 goals and assisting eight. 

Rather than playing down the significance of facing the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Hasek used Monday's pre-match press conference to challenge his players to shut him out.

"We want to neutralise Ronaldo. Especially for our guys, they will remember this for their whole lives," Hasek said.

"Ronaldo is one of the best players and they will be able to say they played against him and maybe they will even be successful. 

"I do not want us not to say after the match that we played against Ronaldo, but that we defeated him."

 

Czechia are appearing at an 11th edition of the Euros (including participations as Czechoslovakia), including their eighth in a row.

That streak began with the 1996 tournament, where they were runners-up in England. Only Germany (14) and France (nine) are currently on longer runs of consecutive European Championship appearances.

With Czechia tipped by many to compete with Turkiye for second place in Group F, Hasek says the key will not be how they start the group stage, but how they finish it. 

"The most important thing at this tournament is the last game. So, the first game doesn't really decide anything," he said.

"All our 26 nominated players are ready, they are healthy, they are fit, and we cannot wait. We are really excited about tomorrow to start everything.

"When you see the pitches, when you see the stadiums, you see this is a really great footballing event."

Cristiano Ronaldo is prepared to give everything in what could be his final major tournament as Portugal prepare for their Euro 2024 opener against Czechia, says Roberto Martinez. 

The 39-year-old continues to prove that age is just a number, scoring 35 goals in 31 appearances for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League in 2023-24, and he will be a key cog for the Selecao in their quest to replicate their 2016 success.

Portugal cruised through qualifying and were the only team to win all of their group fixtures, and arrive in Germany among the frontrunners to lift the trophy on July 14, despite falling short at their last three major tournaments. 

Ronaldo's influence on the side remains despite his decision to leave Europe, and Martinez believes his presence is an advantage both on and off the pitch. 

"We have 23 players. We create competitiveness and the game makes decisions," he said.

"But Cristiano is prepared to help the team and give everything he can give. And there is no other player in the world of soccer who can bring what Cristiano can to the dressing room."

When asked about Ronaldo's international career, Martinez continued: "There are not many players who have achieved what he's achieved.

"He is an example in many ways. To be the only player to reach more than 200 games for your country – that's something that is not going to be achieved easily.

"What surprised me about Cristiano is that he always defies his age.

"After every session, the technical staff and I will be amazed that a player who's achieved everything, who could have the choice of what effort he puts in training, is driven by winning, is obsessed by being the best, is obsessed about that perfection that he wants to achieve in his career. That's contagious."

Czechia are taking part in their 11th European Championship and will be hopeful of emulating their run to the quarter-finals of the competition in 2020 as Ivan Hasek takes charge for his first tournament. 

The 60-year-old understands the enormity of the task ahead of his side, believing Tuesday's encounter will be a valuable experience for his players when they come up against the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"It's not just Ronaldo. If you take a look at the team, it's clear to see that many of their players play for some of the best clubs in the world," said Hasek.

"They are dangerous. We need to prepare thoroughly. It's also important to know and understand their strengths and weaknesses, which I will keep to myself.

"Although I believe we can play against any team, Portugal do have dominant strengths. It would be quite an experience for any coach [to play against Ronaldo] because he is one of the best players in history.

"It's a valuable experience for anyone to play against him and I am not the only one looking forward to it."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo

Since 1972, Ronaldo has scored or assisted twice as many goals as any other player at the Euros, with 20 in total (14 goals, 6 assists), 10 more than Michel Platini who is in second. 

The veteran forward holds the records for most games (25), most goals (14), joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) and most editions with at least one goal (five) at the European Championships. Ronaldo is also the European player with the most appearances at major tournaments, with 47. 

Czechia – Patrik Schick

Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia’s six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a Euro tournament, after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition. 

The 28-year-old scored seven goals in 20 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen as they secured a maiden Bundesliga title last term, just outperforming his xG by 0.96. 

MATCH PREDICTION – PORTUGAL WIN

Portugal arrive in Germany as one of the favourites to secure a second Euros title following their maiden success in 2016, and their qualifying campaign suggests they have what it takes. 

Martinez's side were the only team to win all of their games to make their ninth appearance at the tournament, scoring more goals than any other team (36) while attaining the best defensive record (two goals conceded in 10 games).

Portugal are also the only team to reach the knockout stages of the Euros at each of the last seven editions, a run stretching back to the 1996 tournament, and have always emerged from the group stages when appearing at the competition. 

Czechia are hoping to secure their first victory over their opponents since their maiden meeting at Euro 1996, with Karel Poborsky's goal sealing their place in the semi-finals. 

Only two of the Czechs' last 24 matches at the Euros have ended in a draw (10 wins, 12 defeats), with both coming against Croatia during the group stages of the 2016 and 2020 editions of the tournament. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Portugal – 66.2%

Czechia – 17.9%

Draw – 15.9%

Robert Lewandowski limped off injured as Poland finalised their Euro 2024 preparations with a 2-1 win over Turkiye on Monday.

Lewandowski – who has made more appearances (150) and scored more goals (82) for Poland than any other player – was withdrawn after 32 minutes and was later seen receiving treatment on his right thigh.

Fellow striker Karol Swiderski had already gone off after appearing to hurt his right ankle while celebrating scoring a 12th-minute opener. 

Poland have already lost another forward, Juventus' Arkadiusz Milik, for the tournament after he injured the meniscus in his left knee during a 3-1 win over Ukraine on Friday.

Turkiye equalised through Baris Alper Yilmaz with 14 minutes to play, but Roma's Nicola Zalewski danced through their backline to score Poland's winner in stoppage time.

Elsewhere, Czechia rounded off their preparations by beating North Macedonia 2-1 with a last-gasp winner of their own.

Patrick Schick's penalty put Czechia ahead on the hour mark, only for Isnik Alimi to head home a leveller within five minutes.

However, another spot-kick ensured Ivan Hasek's hosts enjoyed a winning send-off as Antonin Barak converted from 12 yards eight minutes into stoppage time. 

Czechia open their Group F campaign against Portugal on June 18 before facing Georgia and Turkiye in their remaining fixtures.

Bahamian Steven Gardiner is among three individual men’s Olympic sprint champions set to compete at the Golden Spike, a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava on Tuesday.

Italy’s Marcell Jacobs and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the Olympic gold medallists over 100m and 200m respectively, will clash over the shorter distance, then De Grasse will double up by contesting his specialist event.

Gardiner, meanwhile, will take on world indoor champion Alexander Doom over one lap of the track.

The Bahamian, who has a season’s best of 44.45, could be pushed by the Belgian, who won in Marrakesh last week with a lifetime best of 44.51.

Not including the few races where he has pulled up injured, Gardiner has been undefeated over 400m since the 2017 World Championships.

Elsewhere, Jacobs has had just two individual outings this year, the latest being a 10.07 season’s best to win in Rome last weekend.

That makes the Italian the fastest of the Ostrava field this year on season’s bests, though he’s also one of four men in the line-up with a sub-10-second PB.

De Grasse, meanwhile, has a best this year of 10.11 and recently finished second at the Diamond League meeting in Marrakesh.

Britain’s Reece Prescod, who set his PB of 9.93 in Ostrava when winning in the Czech city two years ago, will be one to watch, as will Jamaica’s Ryiem Forde.

Later in the evening, De Grasse will take on Jamaica’s Andrew Hudson and Britain's Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake in the 200m.

In the men’s javelin, home favourite Jakub Vadlejch will take on European champion Julian Weber and two-time world champion Anderson Peters.

Four-time global medallist Vadlejch recently won in Doha with 88.38m, which puts him just one centimeter ahead of Weber on this year’s world list. Peters is close behind with a best of 86.62m.

 

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has travelled to the Czech Republic for the Europa League last-16 first leg against Sparta Prague after returning to training.

The Egypt international’s presence on the flight from Merseyside is particularly significant in the context of the week with Premier League title rivals Manchester City due at Anfield on Sunday.

Salah has played just 46 minutes since leaving the African Cup of Nations early with a hamstring injury on January 18.

Those came in one substitute appearance against Brentford in mid-February, following which the 31-year-old was sidelined after what manager Jurgen Klopp said was muscle fatigue.

Klopp has taken his strongest available squad to Prague, having been afforded the relative luxury of five days between matches, and that means the likes of Darwin Nunez and Wataru Endo, both substitutes for the weekend’s win at Nottingham Forest, are likely to start.

However, 18-year-old striker Jayden Danns, who scored twice in last week’s FA Cup win over Southampton, has not travelled due to a concussion issue after Saturday’s game.

Sparta coach Brian Priske admits he does not know which side Klopp will field but is not focusing on individuals.

“Liverpool are playing great this season and my boys will have their hands full,” he told a press conference.

“It is also difficult to predict who will start for them, considering the size and quality of their squad.

“However, we’re more interested in their style of play than specific personnel.”

Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has warned his team's perfect Euro 2024 qualification record will count for nothing at next year's tournament, though he is content with their group-stage draw. 

Portugal were drawn into Group F at Saturday's draw in Hamburg, alongside Turkiye, the Czech Republic and a yet-to-be-decided play-off winner.

Georgia, Luxembourg, Greece and Kazakhstan will battle for the final place in Portugal's group in March's play-offs.

Portugal have won all 10 of their games since Roberto Martinez replaced Fernando Santos in the aftermath of last year's disappointing World Cup exit, scoring 36 goals and only conceding two as they dominated their qualification group.

Having led Belgium to the last three major tournaments, Martinez is experienced enough to know that will count for little when Portugal begin their campaign against the Czech Republic on June 18.

Asked whether he was satisfied with the draw, Martinez said: "Yes, because the format of the European Championship is unpredictable, there can be three teams that qualify.

"They are difficult opponents. The Czech Republic is a bit of an unknown because they don't have a coach.

"Turkey won their qualifying group against Croatia and Wales. It is a team with a mix of talent, youth and experience. 

"We want to have a perfect preparation. We qualified very well, but that doesn't give us an advantage in the tournament. We need to be prepared."

Martinez's main focus was on the logistical implications of Portugal's draw, and he was relieved to discover that their final two group games will be played in the neighbouring cities of Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen.

"For us, it is good news to be in Group F," he said. "We are based in the centre of Germany and we will have extra time to prepare for the first game. This is important for us." 

Philippe Clement praised his revamped Rangers side for their second-half response against Sparta Prague which earned a valuable Europa League point.

With Borna Barisic and Dujon Sterling injured and Ridvan Yilmaz not in the European squad, the new Gers boss had no natural left-back available which meant a change to a back-three with prolific attacker Abdallah Sima playing left wing-back.

The visitors were fortunate to go into the break with their goal intact as Sparta dominated but there was a gradual improvement in the second half with substitute Danilo having a shot tipped on to the bar by Peter Vindahl late in the game which ended goalless.

Clement said: “The second half was much better. In the end it was a game that was in the balance, the first half for Sparta, the second half for us.

“But I am happy with the reaction in the second half. It has been a very special week, losing three left full-backs and because of that we had to change the system and doing that with two training sessions is very difficult for any team in the world.

“If you have time to prepare on those things it is different but that was not the case.

“So I am really happy after showing images at half-time, where the spaces were and what we had to do, that it was much better in the second half where we dominated in the chances and in the end we could say we could win the game because there were two really great saves from the goalkeeper.

“It is a very important point. Getting points away from home is really important but I am a winner, I want to win always and I want the team to have the same mentality.

“I saw it after the game, they were disappointed that they didn’t win and that is the mentality we need in the next couple of months but in the circumstances we can be happy with a point against a team that plays really good football, a team with a lot of quality.

“The reaction in the second half was good and we need to build on that.”

Rangers are now on four points from three Group C fixtures ahead of Sparta Prague’s visit to Ibrox on November 9 albeit Clement’s focus is on the visit of Hearts in the cinch Premiership on Sunday.

The Belgian, whose tenure at Ibrox began with a 4-0 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at the weekend, highlighted the performance of Sima, on loan from Brighton, saying: “Sima played a really important role as wing-back, which he is not used to playing and he did a great job defensively for the team.

“We want to see a team fight for each other until the edge and over the edge to keep clean sheets and that is two clean sheets in a row and if you do that you take a lot of points in the season but I don’t want a team that only play for clean sheets and only defends to keep clean sheets.

“I want a team that plays good football and creates chances like they showed in the second half.”

Rangers played second fiddle to Sparta Prague for most of their Europa League clash in the Czech Republic before leaving with a point in a goalless draw.

Philippe Clement’s tenure as Gers boss began with a convincing 4-0 win over Hibernian at Ibrox on Saturday but he had to rely on keeper Jack Butland to keep the home side at bay in the first half of the Group C match in which the visitors lacked zip.

There was a marked improvement in the final 20 minutes where Brazilian substitute Danilo hit the bar but Sparta will wonder how they did not win this game early on.

Rangers beat Real Betis 1-0 at Ibrox on match day one before a shock 2-1 defeat by Aris Limassol in Cyprus and are now on four points ahead of Sparta Prague’s visit to Ibrox on November 9, albeit Clement’s focus will first turn to the visit of Hearts on Sunday.

The new Gers boss will have learned more about his players in Prague then he did against Hibs at the weekend and he may have to reassess the way forward.

With Borna Barisic and Dujon Sterling injured and former Gers boss Michael Beale not including Ridvan Yilmaz in the European squad, Clement had no  natural left-back available and had to call on the services of centre-back Ben Davies and change to a back-three with prolific attacker Abdallah Sima playing left wing-back, while Scott Wright made way for fully-fit Todd Cantwell.

The visitors struggled with the change of system.

The Czech champions showed their intent early on and Butland had to makes two great saves within seconds after the ever-dangerous Veljko Birmancevic waltzed into the Gers box to get a shot away before Qazim Laci latched on to the rebound.

Hard-working Sparta were quick and fluid and as they continued to probe the Gers rearguard Laci volleyed just inches wide from the edge of the box uin the 20th minute.

Rangers were offering almost nothing going forward.

When Ibrox midfielder Nico Raskin carelessly gave possession away at the edge of the box on the half-hour mark Butland was required to make another save from Laci’s drive, then Birmancevic hit the side netting with a close-range effort .

Still Sparta kept coming and when Butland parried a powerful drive from Matej Rynes, Gers midfielder John Lundstram got in front of Birmancevic to deny him a tap-in from six yards.

Lundstram’s wayward shot before the break was the only effort on goal from Rangers who needed a vast improvement in the second half.

Dessers had a half chance when Cantwell’s inadvertent pass came over his shoulder in the Sparta box but he was too slow to react and keeper Peter Vindahl gathered easily.

However, the Czech side remained much more dangerous.

In the 55th minute Davies headed away an effort from Martin Vitik two yards from goal then Sparta striker Jan Kuchta missed the target from close range.

Wright took over from Cantwell and in the 72nd minute, as Rangers began to edge forward more, he fired high over the bar from the edge of the box, before Danilo took over from the ineffective Cyriel Dessers.

Rangers at last began to play.

Soon afterwards Vindahl made a good save from a Sam Lammers drive and then tipped a Danilo shot on to the crossbar to ensure the spoils were shared.

Wales Under-21s boss Matty Jones paid tribute to his side’s never-say-die spirit after they salvaged a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic in Ostrov.

Substitute Cian Ashford scored the equaliser in the sixth minute of injury time to extend his side’s unbeaten start to their European Championship qualifying campaign to three games.

“It genuinely feels like a win and you have to give the boys credit for sticking to the plan and fighting for their lives,” Jones told Wales’ social media accounts.

“I always felt we were in there and it is a huge credit to the players and staff for sticking together and finding a way.

“We’ve spoken a lot about that in this campaign. It’s the winning mentality we always want to keep promoting, and we’re going away celebrating because it actually feels like a win.”

England suffered their first qualifying defeat in a decade on this day in 2019 as they slipped to a 2-1 loss at the hands of the Czech Republic in Prague.

Gareth Southgate’s men went into the game knowing victory would put them through to Euro 2020 with three matches to spare, and many thought it would be done with ease given the 5-0 thrashing England inflicted on the Czechs at Wembley a few months prior.

More of the same seemed on the cards when Harry Kane slotted home a fifth-minute penalty to put England in the driving seat.

However, the lead lasted just four minutes before the hosts drew level when Jakub Brabec bundled home a corner, and from then on, the Czechs played with increasing confidence as they chased victory at the Sinobo Stadium.

England failed to make any impression in the second period and a Czech winner would arrive in the 85th minute when they capitalised on over-elaborate play at the back from the visitors.

Jordan Pickford’s pass was pounced on by Lukas Masopust who scurried down the right before cutting back to substitute Zdenek Ondrasek who swept home the winner.

The result ended England’s 43-match unbeaten run in Euro and World Cup qualifying matches stretching back to a 1-0 loss in Ukraine in October 2009 and was a result that Southgate’s stuttering side very much deserved.

“Clearly that’s not a night that we wanted to be a part of in terms of that record,” Southgate said.

“We didn’t play well enough, simple as that. We conceded possession of the ball too cheaply.

“Particularly in the first half we didn’t create enough chances. Second half we had some good chances that we didn’t take and throughout the night we were too open out of possession.

“Some of that was because of giving the ball away. So we gave the Czechs, who played well, got to give them credit, we gave them too many opportunities to score.”

England bounced back from the defeat in impressive fashion, winning their final three qualifiers emphatically – beating Bulgaria 6-0, Montenegro 7-0 and Kosovo 4-0 – to finish six points clear at the second-placed Czechs at the top of Group A with seven wins out of eight.

That sealed their place at Euro 2020 – a tournament delayed until 2021 – where England would finish runners-up after losing to Italy on penalties in the final at Wembley.

England Under-21s head coach Lee Carsley praised the spirit of his squad after goals from Jacob Ramsey and Emile Smith Rowe secured a 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2023 opener.

Chelsea forward Noni Madueke had signalled England’s intent early on when his effort came back off the crossbar.

Although the Czech Republic also had chances, with Vasil Kusej spurning the best of them when clear through on goal, the Young Lions maintained their composure to make the breakthrough at the start of the second half through Aston Villa midfielder Ramsey.

 

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After Anthony Gordon saw a goal ruled out with 20 minutes left for Morgan Gibbs-White blocking a free-kick in the build-up, England continued on the front foot and were eventually rewarded during stoppage time when substitute Smith Rowe slotted home following a counter-attack.

England reached the semi-finals of the tournament in 2017, but failed to make it out of the group stage in both 2019 and 2021.

With holders Germany and Israel having played out a 1-1 draw in Kutaisi, Carsley’s side now find themselves in the driving seat for qualification from Group C.

“I am really pleased to get the result,” Carsley said on UEFA.com.

“The preparation has gone really well, but I didn’t want to jinx us before the game by saying that.

“There is a brilliant spirit within the lads. We feel like we’re in a good place.”

Carsley’s side next face Israel on Sunday before tackling Germany in Batumi on June 28.

Arsenal midfielder Smith Rowe said: “We wanted to make a statement in the first game.

“We knew the Czechs would be really strong, so we are really happy with the three points.”

The Czech Republic will now regroup for their second game against Germany.

“A match like this has to be the best motivation for the future despite our loss,” coach Jan Suchoparek said.

“It is not the end of the tournament for us and I am sure we will fight in the next two matches even more.”

England Under-21s got their Euro 2023 finals campaign off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic in Georgia.

Aston Villa midfielder Jacob Ramsey broke the deadlock at the start of the second half, with substitute Emile Smith Rowe adding another in stoppage time to seal victory.

There was a lively start to the Group C opener at the Batumi Arena, with Chelsea forward Noni Madueke seeing his early effort from the edge of the penalty area clip the crossbar, while at the other end Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford saved from Vasil Kusej.

England, who beat the Czech Republic home and away in qualifying as they topped their group, remained on the front foot, with Newcastle forward Anthony Gordon close to converting a cross from Morgan Gibbs-White.

A defensive mix-up when trying to play out from the back against a high press saw Vaclav Sejk gifted a chance on the right of the England area, but his angled shot flew into the side-netting.

There was another major let-off for England in the 18th minute when Kusej was sent racing clear down the right and he charged into the area, only to fire wide as Trafford came out.

England created another opening in the 25th minute when Gordon clipped the ball across the six-yard box and Ramsey’s header dropped on to his boot and wide at the far post.

Madueke continued to carry a threat and he cut in from the right to curl a shot just wide as England again came close to breaking the deadlock.

The Czechs, though, should have taken the lead five minutes before half-time.

Sejk surged forward down the left, holding off England captain Taylor Harwood-Bellis before cutting back inside the area and clipping a low drive towards the far corner, which Trafford tipped wide at full stretch.

Instead England took the lead two minutes into the second half when Gordon combined with Ramsey on the edge of the area and the Villa midfielder carried the ball on before coolly slotting into the far corner.

The Czechs immediately went on the offensive as Pavel Sulc got clear of Harwood-Bellis, but Trafford was out quickly to smother the danger.

England, who face reigning champions Germany and Israel next week, had the ball in the net again with 20 minutes left, but the goal was disallowed.

After Gibbs-White blocked a quick free-kick, the ball bounced out to Madueke on the right and his low cross was swept in by Gordon.

England’s celebrations were cut short as the referee ruled the goal out and showed Gibbs-White a yellow card for not having retreated 10 yards at the free-kick.

After the let-off, the Czechs pressed for an equaliser and substitute Krystof Danek headed over from Adam Karabec’s floated free-kick.

However, Smith Rowe made sure of victory in stoppage time when he slotted in a pass from fellow substitute Cameron Archer after a break down the left.

Coach Lorne Donaldson believes Jamaica's Reggae Girlz needs to a better job at managing games following his team's 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic in the FFA Nations Cup in Australia on Sunday.

“There’s some stuff, but we’ve got to be able to manage games,” he said after Sunday’s loss. “We conceded in the last minute of the first half and in the second half, we decided to give up a goal because we’re thinking outside the box.

“Managing the game, especially when you’re tired is key and we were awful at that.”

In what was a much better showing than their 3-0 loss to Spain on Thursday, Jamaica conceded from the penalty spot in the 24th minute after Satara Murray was deemed to have fouled Kristyna Ruzickova, after she drove into the box.

Andrea Staskova converted from the spot.

Jamaica would pull level in the 42nd following some quality build-up play involving Havana Solaun, Drew Spence and Trudi Carter, whose pass found Jody Brown who buried her shot from just inside the box for her 14th international goal.

However, Klara Cahynova headed in from a corner in first-half stoppage time to give her team a 2-1 lead at the break.

Ten minutes after the resumption debutant Kameron Necole Simmons collected a rebound from a Spence attempt on goal and slotted into the bottom left corner to pull Jamaica level once again.

It was her first international goal for Jamaica.

However, Jamaica conceded in the 90th minute from a low cross that found Alena Peckova wide open at the far post for an easy tap-in and victory for the Czech Republic.

Jamaica will next play hosts Australia on February 22.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Spain in their opening match of the Cup of Nations at Central Coast Stadium in Australia on Thursday.

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