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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poborsky Lob Sends Czechs Past Portugal

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Karel Poborsky breezed past four Portuguese defenders and lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Vitor Baia for a spectacular winner as upstart Czech Republic scored a 1-0 victory to reach the semifinal of the European Championship.


The Czechs, pre-tournament 80-1 shots who upset Italy in the group games and then reached the quarterfinal on the strength of a last minute equalizer against Russia, Sunday outfoxed the more talented Portuguese team and allowed them few chances at Villa Park while Poborsky netted the only goal in the 52nd minute.


There seemed nothing on when the long-haired midfielder made a solo run at the Portuguese defense. Initially the ball bounced kindly to him off a defender's legs, but he still had four defenders around him as he darted through a gap.


Goalkeeper Baia raced off his line and Helder Cristovao slid in for a tackle from the side. But Poborsky remained cool, lifted the ball over the keeper's head and then watched it bounce into an empty net.


"I thought he'd missed it," Czech coach Dusan Uhrin said.


Uhrin said the success was the result of resolute play.


"It was sheer concentration throughout the whole 90 minutes and the fact that the players stuck to the technical side of the game," he said. "I think we played better in the second half of the game and the victory was deserved."


The only down side for the Czechs is that four players will miss the semifinal against France Wednesday after collecting two yellow cards and one red. Defender Radek Latal was sent off eight minutes from the end for his second caution and Jan Suchoparek, midfielder Radek Bejbl and striker Pavel Kuka will sit out the game against the French.