Although the young Czech team could only win against Belarus away , the team was able to win with only one game against the football dwarf Luxembourg , one point ahead of the Netherlands and Norway for the first time since the separation from Slovakia qualify for an international soccer tournament.
In the preliminary round, the Czech Republic faced runner-up world champions Italy , Germany and Russia in tournament group 3 . The first game against Germany was decided by the Germans in the middle of the first half within 5 minutes. The second game against Italy could be won. This meant that the Czech Republic and Italy each with three points behind the Germans with six points, but they could no longer reach the quarter-finals on their own, as Italy won by one goal against the selection of the DFB Czech Republic in the decisive direct Would have been inferior to both.
At halftime, after goals from Suchopárek and Kuka, the Czech Republic looked like the sure winner, but began, initiated by the follow-up goal by Mostovoi five minutes after the restart, a chase by the Russian team, which even took the lead in the 85th minute. Only the goal of Šmicer in injury time saved a point. In the end, this point was enough because the Italians, considered by many to be the best team in the tournament, could not break the German defensive bar in 90 minutes of the last game.