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Baros misses Czech training, doctors optimistic

Written by: Staff
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WESTERBURG, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) Injured Czech Republic striker Milan Baros missed training today although doctors are optimistic he will be fit for their opening World Cup game against the United States next week.

The 24-year-old forward, top scorer at Euro 2004 and a key player for a team making their World Cup debut, is likely to have recovered from his foot injury in time for the first Group E game against the United States on Monday.

''I can't really make any predictions, but the doctors are optimistic,'' coach Karel Brueckner told reporters at the team's training base in Westerburg.

Injuries have dogged the squad's preparations for the tournament, which starts on Friday.

But there was some good news today with the return to training of midfielders Tomas Rosicky and Tomas Galasek, who had leg and knee injuries respectively.

Influential midfielder Vladimir Smicer has already ruled himself out of the tournament with a torn tendon in his leg.

Ranked second in the world by FIFA, the Czechs are a strong side although with many players well into their 30s they may be past their best. The squad features many of the players who appeared at Euro 2004 when they reached the semi-finals.

A couple of hundred fans waving Czech and German flags greeted the team at the small Siegerland airport earlier on Wednesday, while others awaited them at the squad's lakeside hotel near Westerburg to wish them well.

Their other opponents in Group E are Italy and Ghana.

REUTERS SI BST2124

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