ANDRI YRKILL VALSSON / AIPS** in PRAGUE: Hosts Czech Republic, played with all the confidence in the world, put their UEFA U21 Euro bid back on track by dismissing Serbia 4-0 in Group A.
If Vysočina Jihlava striker Jan Kliment was their hat-trick hero then their supporters were surely their 12th man, cheering them on from the warm-up and for a long time after the final whistle.
The Czechs had been teetering on the brink after losing their opening game to Denmark but there was little doubt about their revival once
Kliment had shot them into the lead in the seventh minute after an incisive run by Matej Hybs.
Serbia were reeling. Kliment wasted a one-on-one chance against keeper Marko Dmitrovic, Jiri Skalak hit the bar when it seemed easier to score then Vaclav Kadlec hit the bar.
Moments later Kliment tapped the rebound after a shot from Jiri Skalak to make it 2-0 down after only 21 minutes.
Serbia had to wait until late in the first half before Milos Jojic had a shot on goal, Tomas Koubek. They were the more aggressive early in the second half as well but the Czechs had all the answers.
In the 55th minute, Kliment completed his hat-trick on an assist from Jacub Brabec then, four minutes later, Martin Frydek made it 4-0.
In the other Group B match tournament favourites Germany struck form, at the second game of asking, in defeating Denmark 3-0. Kevin Volland (two) and Matthias Ginter scored the goals.
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide and is co-operating with UEFA in running a Young Reporters course in the Czech Republic. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com
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