Netherlands vs. Czech Republic Live from Portugal
2:35 pm EST
AVEIRO, Portugal (AP)— The Netherlands and the Czech Republic face off again at the European Championships in the latest installment of a beautiful budding rivalry.
At Euro 2000, the Dutch helped oust the Czechs in the first round with a 1-0 win on a penalty in the closing minutes awarded for a light foul.
The Czechs bested the Netherlands in qualifying for Euro 2004 with a tie in Rotterdam and a 3-1 win in Prague - after Edgar Davids was ejected in the opening minutes with two yellow cards.
But the Czechs were dismayed to see the Netherlands survive qualifying playoffs and wind up in their Group D as the dangerous floater.
The teams were also drawn into the same group in 2006 World Cup qualifying.
"It's always the Dutch," sighed Czech midfielder Tomas Galasek, who plays for Ajax Amsterdam, after hearing of the World Cup draw.
"This is about one game, on neutral territory," he said. "Anything is possible."
Saturday's match promises to be hotly contested. After a come-from behind win against Latvia, the Czechs need another win against either the Netherlands or Germany to guarantee a quarterfinals spot.
Ruud van Nistelrooy's late equalizer saved a 1-1 tie for the Dutch in their opener against Germany, and a win against the Czechs would leave them in good position to reach the last eight.
Dutch defender Jaap Stam said he expected a difficult game, adding that a tie "could be OK, but naturally we want to win."
He said at this point, the two teams are familiar with each others' tactics.
"We'll have to be alert naturally, because the Czechs will fall back and wait for any mistake we might make," he said. "They can come out fast."
Czech players singled out Van Nistelrooy as their main concern after his brilliant goal against Germany. Stam said he was looking forward to grappling with towering Czech forward Jan Koller again.
"He's quite a bit taller than me, and quite a bit heavier, so I know it's going to be very physical," Stam said.
He described Koller as similar in style to Germany's Kevin Kuryani, but "I think Koller is more the kind of player that can hold the ball better," he said.
"You know as a defender that you have your work cut out for you with against a player like Koller. Yeah, those are good duels."
Including matches against Czechoslovakia, the Dutch are a 4-8-5 against the Czechs.
Clarence Seedorf, the only injured Dutch player, is expected to be available for Saturday's match. Stam and Phillip Cocu picked up yellow cards against Germany.
For the Czechs, Rene Bolf is nursing a knee injury, but he is expected to be fit by Saturday.
Koller, Zdenek Grygera, Pavel Nedved and Tomas Rosicky have suffered various ill effects from the heat in Portugal but were also expected to be fit.