The opener – XIII, Vaclav Sverkos

Czech Republic didn’t make a great impression at EURO 2008, especially as they were knocked out of the competition by Turkey which beat them 3-2 in the last group game, after the Czechs had 2-0 and 2-1 in the 87th minute! But from Czech Republic also comes the man who put in the first goal of the competition: Vaclav Sverkos. Few heard of this man, even from the citizens of the country which he represents, because the forward had a very fluctuant career and most of his chances were blocked involuntary by Milan Baros. But on that 7th of June 2008, Switzerland, one of the hosts, was facing Czech Republic. Milan Baros was injured and Jan Koller, all time top scorer of the Czechs, didn’t play very well in the first half. So, in the 54th minute Sverkos came in to just score the winner after 17 minutes. ‘I always knew that one day I’ll do something really important for my country and that moment came now!’ This words represented his short description about the feeligs he had after the goal.

Czech Republic eventually lost the next two games and didn’t progress through. But neither did Vaclav’s career. Born on 1st of November 1983, he started playing at Banik Ostrava in 2001, but waited more than a year to break through as he was the substitute of Milan Baros. When his rival left the club he exploded and Monchengladbach hurried to sign him. In two years he played 70 matches and scored 17 goals for Borussia. At only 22 years old these looked like impressive numbers, but not for the coaches of the national team as no call up came untill 2005. After a season spent at Berlin, he return to Monchengladbach for one more year but played very less. So, a transfer to Austria Wien came as a breather, but Sverkos neither did increase his evolutions here. At the end of 2007 all his dreams to become a Czech international looked very far. Judging his situation, the forward took the decision to come back at Banik Ostrava.

A brilliant 2007-2008 season here, with 23 goals in 39 matches, attracted the national staff’s attention and so, on 14th of May 2008, Sverkos was announced that he would take part in the squad for EURO 2008. He was 25 but never appeared at the national team! The debut came two weeks later in a friendly against Lithuania and the first goal in the match mentioned above. That wasn’t all, but Vaclav reached there his biggest national performance. He didn’t play in another game at EURO, but his performances helped him to catch a contract with the French side of Sochaux at the beginning of 2009. He remained here until 2011, but with a spell at Panionios, where he was loaned. Now, he plays for the third time at Banik Ostrava and hopes for a new miracle to reach the national side. Since EURO 2008 he played only in nine other matches at international level in which he only scored once. A total of 11 matches and two goals aren’t a performance for a 29 years old striker. He wasn’t call up for the competition which will start tomorrow but Vaclav will remain forever with the moment built four years ago, especially considering that he whore than the number 10 jersey.

Photo sources: worldfootballplayers.blog.cz, fotbal-idnes.cz, fcsochaux.fr, panionios.gr, isport-blesk.cz, focus.de

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