FC Slovan Liberec | How did our five representatives fare in the national selections?
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How did our five representatives fare in the national selections?

Liberec - A total of five players of our A-team went to play for their national teams during the national break. Martin Koscelník played for Slovakia, Júsuf Hilál for Bahrain, Michal Fukala for the Czech Lions and Denis Višinský and Alijagić for the Czech U19 team. Today we will see how they fared in the March duels.

Martin Koscelník – Slovakia

Slovakia, unlike the Czech Republic, was no longer playing for the World Championship. Instead, our eastern neighbour played two preparatory matches. The first one was against Norway at the stadium in Oslo. The match was tied for a long time, mainly thanks to the great performance of goalkeeper Rodák. However, Haaland scored in the 77th minute and Ødegaard three minutes later. After a huge shooting advantage (21 to 4) the Norwegians won 2:0. Martin Koscelník played the entire first half.

In the second game the Slovaks challenged the Finns, this time in Murcia, Spain. However, coach Tarkovic shuffled the line-up for this match, giving a chance to the players of the wider squad, Koscelník did not enter the duel. The changed line-up coped well with Finland, beating them 2-0 after goals from Duda and Jirka.

Yusuf Helal – Bahrain

Bahrain played a total of three friendlies during the March national break. First, they challenged India, whom they expectedly defeated 1-2. Our player did not play in this match. Then the island nation played Burundi. This time Yusuf was on the pitch from the 51st minute and even assisted the decisive goal in the 1-0 win. Against Belarus, the burly striker played the entire match, but Bahrain lost 0-1 to their European opponents.

Michal Fukala – U21

The U21’s played two matches in the qualification for the next European Championship. In Group G, they first challenged Albania in their fourth largest city, Elbasan. However, our national team did not find a scorer from their ranks, the 1:0 win was decided by an unlucky own goal by stopper Sergio Kalaj. Michal Fukala played the whole game at left-back, only to earn a yellow card in the first half.

The second match was played in Andorra. A very changed line-up achieved a "compulsory" win thanks to two goals by the Slavia player Fila and one by the player from Sparta Karabec. Our player did not take part in the match. After two wins, the Lions continue to hold the first place in the table and the worst they can finish second. With 19 points we have a three-point lead over second-placed England, but they have two games less. We will therefore play England directly for the top spot and direct qualification to the Euros at the beginning of June.

Denis Višinský and Denis Alijagić – U19

Our U19 national team played three matches in the elite stage of the qualification for the European Championship. The first match was against Bosnia and Herzegovina, but unfortunately the match ended in a 0:1 defeat. According to coach Holoubek, our players played nervously and did not cope with the role of the favourite, the win was decided by the isolated action of the opponent. Višinský played 67 minutes as a right midfielder, then he was replaced by Alijagić.

The second match was much better, as our team defeated France 1-0. The credit for this goes to stopper Vydra, who after a direct kick shot a deflected ball past the French stopper and goalkeeper. Višinský played again in the same position, this time for 79 minutes. Alijagic did not appear in this match.

The most unforgettable duel for our players was undoubtedly the last one with Sweden. Alijagić started there for a change, Višinský joined in the 69th minute. The first goal was scored by Vlašim striker Jurásek, but the Swedes equalised by Swedberg before the end of the half. The U19s won thanks to two goals by Alijagić, the second of which was even passed directly to him by Višinský.

The top three teams in the group earned six points, but only the first team advanced to the final tournament in Slovakia. The lucky team in the final was France, who jumped to first place thanks to a better score. We finished second, ahead of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sweden, which did not score a point.

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