Petr Cech: An end of era but what now for the Czech Republic?
After a dismal Euro 2016 for the Czech Republic, the Arsenal keeper Petr Cech has decided to hang up his international gloves after accumulating an impressive 124 caps for his country – making him the most capped player in Czech Republic history. On his international retirement Cech stated: “This is a purely football-based decision. If I want to prolong my career and play at the highest level for as long as I can, then I will probably need to find the balance so that I can continue to do so.”
“You look back at the Czech and Czechoslovakian history and you see so many great names and players. I managed to play more games than them, which shows the consistency and quality of my game,” he added.
So what now for the Czech Republic? What do the fans think? Have Czech Republic got a diamond in the rough capable of one-day matching Petr Cech? Or was he just a unique one off talent? Let’s take a look….
There is no doubt about it, Petr Cech was a huge hit with the fans. Fans in their droves donned his now famous protective head gear piece after he returned to international duty following a long lay off with a fractured skull after a nasty collision with Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt in 2006. It was obviously not just his new appearance they welcomed back. They welcomed back an imposing goalkeeper who breed a sense of calm and composure among his defence. The fans will certainly not forget him being a central figure in helping the Czech Republic reaching the semi finals of Euro 2004.
What now for the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic now have a massive void to fill. Although Euro 2016 was a rather drab experience for the Czech’s, they do have a young team with some promising young forward players breaking through and the experience of a tournament will hold them in good stead for the future. However, replacing Cech is not an easy task. There are however some high quality goalkeepers dotted around Europe and some promising young goalkeepers coming through the Czech youth systems who may just make it to the very top level. Let’s take a look at a few.
Among the Czech journalists who closely follow the national team. Many see Tomáš Vaclík as Cech’s likely successor. Currently plying his trade in Switzerland with FC Basel, Vaclík has all the attributes to be a good replacement. At 27 it can be seen that his best years are certainly ahead of him as goalkeepers generally do not peak to their early 30’s and that has been apparent with some high profile mistakes for FC Basel in the Swiss Super league. Although generally speaking, it was good season for Vaclík with Basel winning the Super Leaguer for the 7th time in a row in the 2015-2016 season and 19 championship title overall. FC Basel certainly see a lot of promise in Tomáš Vaclík having extended his contract with the until the end of June 2021.
Born in 1992, age is defiantly on Koubeks side. In his own country he is already been dubbed ‘the next Cech’ and has already been courted by some of Europe’s big boys. Koubek stands at 6ft 6inch and is a commanding goalkeeper. Currently playing for Sparta Prague, Koubek spent much of the 2015-2016 season on loan at Slovan Liberec and impressed so much he received a call up to the national team and featured in an impressive 3-2 win against the Netherlands in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. Koubek still has a lot of developing ahead for him to be mentioned in the same breath as Petr Cech but is definitely one to watch.
Another ‘hot prospect’ plying his trade at the Czech Republics premier club, Sparta Prague. Jiří Pavlenka is the same age as fellow compatriot Tomáš Koubek but has already made 8 first team appearances for Sparta Prague and currently donning the number 1 shirt. At 24 like Koubek, he still has an immense amount of developing to do. Journalist and football critics alike see this season as Pavlenka’s to really shine and stamp his authority as Sparta Prague’s uncontested number 1 goalkeeper and perhaps from there the number one Czech goalkeeper!
Who do you think should replace Petr Cech? We recommend visiting Bestbetting-sites.com to see who the bookies favourite is. Luckily for Gunners fans he will continue to play at the Emirates Stadium …. for now!