Czech Republic Magazine

Who are the best players in the history of Czech football?

football-field

Prague, Czech Republic – Czech football has been undergoing somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. Viktoria Plzeň reached the Champions League group stages this season, however, they bowed out after being drawn into a tough group alongside Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, and Barcelona. Still, oddschecker, which compares football odds and free offers, makes the Viktoriáni the favourites to win the Czech top flight later this year.

Plzeň’s domestic rivals Slavia Prague have also performed well on the continent. They have reached the quarter-finals of European competition in three of the last four years. Admittedly, the national team didn’t quite make it to the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar – eventually losing out to Sweden in the playoffs – but they have qualified for the last seven European Championships in a row. That’s a claim that heavyweights such as England and the Netherlands are unable to make.

The Czech Republic national team has seen many great and talented players over the years, with some of the best to have ever graced the world of football originating from the Central European nation. From legendary strikers to world-class midfielders, the Czech Republic have been able to call upon an enviable array of talent over the years. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best players in the history of the Czech national squad.

Pavel Nedvěd

Perhaps the most well-known of the Czech Republic’s great players is Pavel Nedvěd. The former Lazio and Juventus player was a key component in the Czech Republic’s midfield for much of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

His dribbling, passing, and shooting ability were all exceptional, and he was integral to the success of the national team in the Euro 2004 tournament, scoring two key goals en route to the semi-finals.

Karel Poborský

Midfielder Karel Poborský is another revered figure in the country’s soccer history. He was part of the national team for more than a decade, from the early 1990s to 2004.

With his mesmeric dribbling and superb passing range, he was an important part of the team’s success in 1996 and 2004, when they reached the final of Euro 1996 and the semi-finals of Euro 2004. His most iconic moment came in Euro 1996 when he scored an incredible lobbed goal against Portugal in the group stage.

Jan Koller

When it comes to strikers, the Czech Republic has had no shortage of talent. Jan Koller needs to be mentioned.

The burly forward was a handful for opposition defenders throughout the 2000s, using his sheer size and power to overpower opponents and find the back of the net. He was a key part of the team’s success in Euro 2004, scoring four goals, including a crucial winner against Portugal in the quarter-final.

Tomáš Rosický

Another standout striker is Tomáš Rosický, who captained the national team in their successful run to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

He was known for his energy and dynamism on the pitch, as well as his exceptional passing ability and his ability to pick out a teammate with a weighted through ball.  He scored 24 goals in 105 games for the Czech team and is arguably the nation’s best-ever midfield playmaker.

The Czechs on the international stage 

The Czech Republic have enjoyed relative success in major international tournaments over the years, reaching the final of Euro 1996 and the semi-finals of Euro 2004, their best showing at the tournament. They haven’t qualified for the World Cup since 2006, however. That year, they exited at the group stages after disappointing defeats against Ghana and eventual champions Italy.

Despite not winning a major international trophy in recent years – their last and only success being a maiden European Championship back in 1976 – the Czech Republic have been blessed with some truly star-studded players over the years.

Pavel Nedvěd, Karel Poborský, Jan Koller, and Tomáš Rosický are just some of the players who have graced the international stage for the Czechs, and their efforts have left an indelible mark on the history of the national team.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.