8 October 2014 17:16
There will be more than just valuable Euro 2016 qualifying points at stake when the Czech Republic head to Turkey on Friday.
Visiting coach Pavel Vrba has agreed to a bet with a brewery in the country that could see him taking part in a job swap if things do not go according to plan.
Should his side claim four or more points from their Group A matches against Turkey and Kazakhstan (on Monday), every fan who attends the November qualifier against Iceland will receive a free beer.
However, if they fail to reach the four-point marker, Vrba will find himself clocking on for a shift at the brewery.
But the former Viktoria Plzen boss has the utmost confidence in his players after they opened their campaign with an impressive 2-1 victory over Netherlands last month.
“Just as I believed in this team for the match with the Netherlands, so I trust them in the matches against Turkey and Kazakhstan,” he said.
“If we succeed, the fans will drink free beer in the match with Iceland and hopefully be satisfied.
“If we get six points, then I will probably go directly to the brewery for a keg.”
Vrba’s men will be out to avoid a repeat of their Euro 2008 clash, when Turkey denied the Czechs progression to the quarter-finals in dramatic fashion.
The Czech Republic led 2-1 heading into the final three minutes of their final group encounter, but Nihat Kahveci netted twice in as many minutes to turn the scoreline on its head.
Despite seeing goalkeeper Volkan Demirel sent off in stoppage time – replaced between the posts by Tuncay Sanli – Turkey held on to progress at their opponents’ expense, eventually losing to Germany in the semi-finals.
Demirel and opposite number Petr Cech are two of only five survivors from that fixture to feature in either squad this time around, but the latest fixture between the sides promises to be another enthralling affair.
The sides have claimed one win apiece from the subsequent two friendly meetings – Ladislav Krejci and David Lafata netting in a 2-0 triumph for the Czech Republic in Manisa in February 2013.
The Czech Republic’s win against Netherlands was their first in five international fixtures and a timely confidence boost at the beginning of a challenging qualifying campaign.
Turkey, meanwhile, opened with a 3-0 defeat to Iceland, so coach Fatih Terim will want his players to wipe the slate clean and start afresh on Friday.
Tomas Necid makes his return for the Czech Republic, having not featured since May 2012, while Arda Turan and Mehmet Topal are injury doubts for Turkey.