Veteran striker Jan Koller left the Czech national team on Sunday after an abortive international comeback in Saturday's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Slovakia, national team spokesman Petr Sveceny said.
"Nobody will persuade me again," Koller said after the match in Bratislava, in which he was outshadowed by substitutes Milan Baros from Galatasaray and Tomas Necid from CSKA Moscow. "I would only be in the way. It was a mistake to come back against Slovakia," added Koller, replaced by Baros after 55 minutes on Saturday.
The 36-year-old lanky striker, now plying his trade with Russia's Samara but a standout from the Czech side that reached the UEFA EURO 2004 semi-finals, said goodbye to international football after EURO 2008, but national team manager Ivan Hasek persuaded him to return for the Slovakia tie.
The Czech Republic had to fight back twice in a thrilling second half to hold Group Three leaders Slovakia to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. ith three games to go, the Czechs are fifth in the group with nine points from seven matches, trailing the Slovaks - their partners in the former Czechoslovak federation - by seven points.
Koller, the all-time leading scorer for the Czechs with 55 goals in 91 matches, will miss next Wednesday's qualifier against minnows San Marino in Uherske Hradiste in eastern Czech Republic. But the game may offer another comeback as Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky, sidelined with injuries since January 2008, is staying with the team after watching the Slovak game from the stands.