Soccer-Czechs save spot for banned Slavia defender Kudela in Euro 2020 squad

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FILE PHOTO: World Cup Qualifiers Europe - Group E - Wales v Czech Republic

By Michael Kahn

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy dropped former captain Borek Dockal from his Euro 2020 squad on Tuesday while leaving one spot open for Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela, who is appealing a 10-match ban for racist behaviour in a Europa League match.

The Czechs, appearing in their seventh straight Euro finals, will have their work cut out to qualify from Group D, which also includes tournament favourites England and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia.

They already know they will have to start the tournament on June 14 in Glasgow against Scotland without injured Slavia midfielder Lukas Provod.

Silhavy told reporters that the June 1 deadline for squads to be submitted gave him leeway to await Kudela's appeal:

"There's probably not very much hope, but we don't want to close the door."

Glen Kamara of the Scottish champions Rangers complained of being racially abused by Kudela at the end of the second leg of their bad-tempered last-16 clash in March. Kudela has denied the allegation.

Silhavy decided to take 18-year old Sparta forward Adam Hlozek to his first major tournament, while Hertha Berlin midfielder and captain Vladimir Darida will make his third euro finals appearance.

The Czechs will also hope West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek can carry over his sparkling Premier League form to give them some chance of surviving the group stage.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Jiri Pavlenka (Werder Bremen), Tomas Vaclik (Sevilla), Ales Mandous (Oloumoc)

Defenders: Ondrej Celustka (Sparta Prague), Jan Boril (Slavia Prague), Pavel Kaderabek (Hoffenheim), Tomas Kalas (Bristol), Alex Mateju (Brescia), Vladimir Coufal (West Ham), David Zima (Slavia Prague), Jakub Brabec (Viktoria Plzen)

Midfielders: Jakub Jankto (Sampdoria), Antonin Barak (Hellas Verona), Tomas Soucek (West Ham), Tomas Holes (Slavia Prague), Lukas Masopust (Slavia Prague), Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow), Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin), Petr Sevcik (Slavia Prague), Jakub Pesek (Slovan Liberec)

Forwards: Michael Krmencik (PAOK Thessaloniki), Tomas Pekhart (Legia Warsaw), Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen), Matej Vydra (Burnley), Adam Hlozek (Sparta Prague)

(Additional reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Kevin Liffey)