Consent Preferences Spurs Odyssey - Preview Slavia Prague v Spurs - 14.09.06
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Match Reports
Preview Pack - Slavia Prague v Spurs - 14.09.06

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Spurs record in Europe:-

European Cup

P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13

(Semi-Finalists 1962)

European Cup Winners Cup

P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34

(Winners 1963)

P   w   D   L   F - A
58  35 13  10  133- 42 

(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)

P   W   D   L   F - A
99 59  19  21  219- 89

Thursday's game in Prague will be Spurs' 100th official European competitive match (excluding the 1995 Inter-Toto farce), and we will be looking for our 60th win in all three major European Competitions.

Spurs have had too many fallow years of course, when it comes to competing in Europe, and we must hope to play the number of elite games that some of our opponents have been enjoying in recent years.

Spurs were the trail-blazers, of course, in their Sixties' heyday. They were the first British Club to win a European Trophy; then became the first winners of the UEFA Cup, when it was introuduced in 1972, and then in 1974, the first British Club to take part in three major European Finals.

Since our second UEFA Cup victory in 1984, there has been very little European football at The Lane, with a poor 1999 UEFA campaign that followed our Worthington Cup win under a certain former gooner manager, who too often failed to see the benefit of playing David Ginola in away games. Ginola did not get on in the away match against Kaiserslautern until the 80th minute.

Spurs played a team from Prague during their European Cup campaign, in February 1962. We lost the away leg 1-0, but won 4-2 at The Lane to go onto a historic semi-final against Benfica, which older supporters regard as one of the greatest games ever played at White Hart Lane.

Dukla Prague hit hard times in the 80s and 90s, were overtaken by Sparta Prague, and fell from grace. Eventually, Dukla took over FC Pribram, and whilst they played for one year in Prague, the club (now called FC Marila Pribram) plays at Pribram. They are currently in the lower half of the Czech "Liga 1", with Sparta and Slavia above them in the top half.

Slavia Prague (or Praha to use the native Czech langauage) qualified for the UEFA Cup by virtue of their third place last season, finishing two places above Sparta. Due to last week-end's results, Sparta have just overtaken our opponents in Liga 1. Slavia's results to date are as follows:-

Banik Ostrava 0-2   Slavia Praha
Slavia Praha  3-2   FK Teplice
Karvan        0-2   Slavia Praha
(UEFA Cup 2nd Qualifying Rd 1st Leg)
Slavia Praha  0-2   Slovan Liberec
1.FC Brno     1-0   Slavia Praha
Slavia Praha  0-0   Liberec
(UEFA Cup 2nd Qualifying Rd 2nd Leg)
Slavia Praha  3-0   Sigma Olomouc
Siad Most     2-0   Slavia Praha

Our own reserve keeper Radek Cerny is a Slavia Prague player, as he is only on long-term loan to us. Cerny has played 177 league games for Slavia, and even scored a goal for them in the 1999-2000 season. I don't know the circumstances of that. Perhaps it was a penalty. ENIC have an interest in Slavia, but the level of their interest in both clubs has been ratified by UEFA. I have seen the name of our own financial director Matthew Collecott quoted as Slavia's President, but the Chairman is Miroslav Ondricek. Karel Jarolim is their manager, whose previous managerial experience lies with other Czech teams. One of Slavia's midfielders is a Lukas Jarolim, (son?), who has played all 6 of their league games this season, which started at the end of July. There is an 18 year old midfielder in the squad named Milan Cerny. He's too old to be our Cerny's son, but could be related also!

This season, Slavia have won three and lost three in the League, and are currently seventh in their league. They seem to have lost form recently, but on home territory against prestigious opposition, they must not be under-estimated. It's not as if Spurs are in the best of form, after all!

Most of the Slavia team are Czech nationals, but they do have a Brazilian striker - Gaucho, who has scored twice. Another scorer of two goals is midfielder David Kalivoda, who has come off the bench twice to score in recent games. 23 year old Pavel Fort will be one to watch too.

Slavia have only been getting up to 6,000 in their ground for League games. Although the ground holds 19,000, the Spurs contingent will make up a strong and vocal presence for this important game. Spurs will be looking for a solid performance, a clean sheet and hopefully a cushion of a lead to bring back to White Hart Lane for the second leg on September 28th. The winners of this tie will go into the Round 2 League of five teams, with two home and away matches to contend for further progress.

The great news for Spurs fans is that Aaron Lennon was declared fit enough to travel with the squad to Prague and that he will have a late fitness test. Personally, I think it would be surprising to see him start, and that if he is near fitness then he should be saved for Sunday's game against Fulham.

Teemu Tainio was rested last week-end and will surely play a part in this game, where Spurs will be seeking a solid performance and perhaps the blessing of a one or two goal cushion to bring back to The Lane. It is difficult to otherwise predict Martin Jol's selection beyond the back four, which I fancy will be unchanged. Whatever the line-up, I am taking Spurs to get a good win, and will predict a 2-0 victory.

As I am travelling to Prague, the Spurs Odyssey review of the game will be delayed till Friday tea-time. Let's hope it's a happy one!

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