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Czechs bring Kudela in from the cold for Nations League


PRAGUE: Controversial centre-back Ondrej Kudela has been recalled to the Czech Republic squad for Nations League games against Portugal and Switzerland later this month, coach Jaroslav Silhavy said on Tuesday.

Trailing Group 2 leaders Spain by four points, the Czechs host second-placed Portugal in Prague on September 24 and fourth-placed Switzerland in St Gallen three days later.

Kudela has not played for the national team since early 2021 when he allegedly aimed a racist slur at Glasgow Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara during a Europa League game.

Kudela, then with Slavia Prague, was handed a 10-game ban by Uefa which saw him sit out Euro 2020, postponed by a year.

The 35-year-old left Slavia for Indonesian top-flight side Persija Jakarta in the summer.

"We are a bit short of centre-backs now. We know Ondrej well, we have lost trace of him a bit but we watch him via video," Silhavy said.

"He plays all games, we may argue about the quality of the competition, but he has proved many times in the past that he is an experienced player," he added.

Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick also returns after missing the four Nations League games in June having undergone groin surgery.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Jiri Pavlenka (Bremen/GER), Jindrich Stanek (Viktoria Plzen), Tomas Vaclik (Olympiakos/GRE); Defenders: Jakub Brabec (Aris Thessaloniki/GRE), Vladimir Coufal (West Ham/ENG), Milan Havel (Viktoria Plzen), Vaclav Jemelka (Olomouc), Ondrej Kudela (Persija Jakarta/INA), David Zima (FC Torino/ITA), Jaroslav Zeleny (Sparta Prague); Midfielders: Antonin Barak (Fiorentina/ITA), Vaclav Cerny (Twente/NED), Jakub Jankto (Sparta Prague), Lukas Kalvach (Viktoria Plzen), Lukas Masopust (Slavia Prague), Tomas Soucek (West Ham/ENG), Petr Sevcik (Slavia Prague); Forwards: Adam Hlozek (Leverkusen/GER), Jan Kuchta (Sparta Prague), Patrik Schick (Leverkusen/GER)

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