12:30 PM UTC
Leg 1
Game Details
By ESPN Staff

Czech Republic captain Rosicky to miss Euro 2008

Arsenal midfielder and Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky has confirmed he will miss next month's European Championships due to a tendon injury.

He picked up the injury in the Gunners' FA Cup fourth-round clash with Newcastle in January and had been hoping to recover in time to lead his country at this summer's showpiece tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

However, the 27-year-old revealed he needs to undergo surgery to remedy the problem, ruling him out for much of the off-season.

'I want to announce that I won't be able to play at the European Championship,' Rosicky told a press conference in Prague on Friday.

'I have no other option than to undergo the operation - the tendon is likely more damaged than it had seemed.

'This is the worst period of my career. I believed to the last moment that I'd be fine.'

The Czechs are sure to be hit hard by the loss of Rosicky, who took over the captain's armband from the talismanic Pavel Nedved when the Juventus veteran announced his international retirement after the 2006 World Cup.

Rosicky insisted, however, that his countrymen will perform well in his absence.

'I'm an optimist,' he continued. 'I think that the Czech team will be successful at the championship even without me. I trust the team.'

The former Borussia Dortmund star added that it was not out of the question for Nedved to end his retirement and make himself available for selection in Rosicky's place.

'It is up to him to make the decision,' Rosicky said. 'Nobody else but he has to say he's returning.'

Czech Republic kick off their Euro 2008 campaign against Switzerland on June 7 before meeting Turkey and Portugal in their other Group A fixtures.