Pandemic nightmare results in Euro dream for Czech goalkeeper

Goalkeeper Ales Mandous’ surprising journey to the nationwide aspect began with what he thought was a prank name and ended with a dream come true as a member of the Czech workforce for the Euro 2021 event that kicks off on Friday.

That September name after COVID-19 sidelined the common nationwide workforce members and compelled the Czechs to scramble collectively a make-shift squad to face Scotland in a Nations League match gave the 29-year-old Olomouc goalkeeper an opportunity to impress.

“At first there have been experiences that the sport was cancelled and that it couldn’t be performed so no one anticipated the match to go on,” Mandous instructed Reuters.

“I used to be simply strolling my canine when coach Holoubek referred to as me and instructed me that I’m nominated for the match. At first I believed it was a joke.”

The international pandemic has compelled organisers to reduce plans for the upcoming event with followers going through capability limits at venues and groups electing to stay primarily based in their very own nation.

But for gamers like Mandous it supplied a possibility.

His probability got here eight years after his sole nationwide workforce look in 2013 as an Under-21 participant when coronavirus issues compelled the Czechs to assemble the squad of primarily newcomers led by Under-18 coach David Holoubek.

With 9 gamers making their senior worldwide debuts, the workforce placed on a battling efficiency in a 2-1 loss to Scotland as Mandous placed on an assured efficiency to drive his method into additional consideration.

“It’s an excellent honour to play for the nationwide workforce and for me to be there,” Mandous stated. “Not many individuals are fortunate sufficient to symbolize their nation.”

While Mandous prepares for the event that the Czechs enter on June 14 in opposition to host nation Scotland, he’s unlikely to go away the bench as he sits behind Werder Bremen’s Jiri Pavlenka and Sevilla’s Tomas Vaclik within the goalkeeping pecking order.

The Czechs — showing of their seventh consecutive Euro finals — face a problem to get out of Group D that additionally contains event favourites England, host nation Scotland and 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia.

For unlikely squad member Mandous, the chance to participate within the event outweighs disappointing his girlfriend for cancelling vacation plans when coach Jaroslav Silhavy named him within the ultimate 26-man roster.

“My girlfriend and I had been planning a vacation in Greece however I’m very completely happy to be right here on the event,” Mandous stated.

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