- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2006

3:04 p.m.

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Jan Koller scored early, and Tomas Rosicky added two more goals today to lead the Czech Republic to a 3-0 win over the United States in Group E of the World Cup.

Koller, who returned only last month from knee surgery, already had been fouled by Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Pope in the first two minutes. He then headed a cross to put the ball past United States goalkeeper Kasey Keller for his 43rd goal in 69 international appearances, a Czech record.

Rosicky scored on a soaring 25-meter (yard) shot in the 36th minute, and the Americans never got back into the game.

Rosicky hit the crossbar in the 68th and added a goal in the 76th minute, getting past the United States defense off a through pass from Pavel Nedved and beating Keller on the breakaway.

“They punished us for every mistake we made,” United States coach Bruce Arena said.

“The Rosicky goal was a great goal,” Arena added. “To me the big play in the game was giving up the early goal.”

Koller injured his right leg battling Onyewu for a ball in the 43d minute, and was taken off on stretcher. He was taken to a hospital to be examined, the Czech team said.

“Unfortunately his injury is quite serious,” Czech Republic coach Karel Bruckner said.

The Czechs reached the semifinals at the 2004 European Championship, losing to eventual champion Greece.

United States captain Claudio Reyna came closest to scoring for the Americans, hitting the post in the 29th minute.

“You can’t be hesitant. You have to be aggressive from the first minute,” Reyna said. “There’s no excuse. We have to come out fighting against Italy from the first minute.”

Eddie Johnson, who entered at halftime, provided some energy, missing wide in the 70th minute and high in the 76th.

Four years ago, the United States reached the quarterfinals after upsetting Portugal in its opening match. After Monday’s loss, the team is 0-8 in Europe in World Cup play.

The Americans got a pregame pep talk from President George W. Bush, who called from Camp David before the game and wished them well.

Italy and Ghana are also in Group E.

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