Czechs crush Malta as Rosicky shines on return

PRAGUE, May 27 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic cruised to a 6-0 win over Malta on Friday as Petr Cech earned a record 119th cap and Tomas Rosicky returned to the squad in time for next month's European Championship.

The Czechs are counting on a mixture of experience along with new faces to get them out of a tough Euro 2016 group in France next month which includes defending champions Spain.

Midfielder Jaroslav Plasil scored after 15 minutes with a 30-metre strike that went in off the left post.

Milan Skoda tapped in from close range and Roman Hubnik gathered a Plasil cross to smash in the third goal.

David Lafata, Tomas Necid and Patrik Schick scored in the second half as the Czechs' controlled the ball, rarely allowing Malta to threaten a defence anchored by 33-year-old goalkeeper Cech.

Rosicky missed half the Czechs' qualifying campaign and almost the whole season for Arsenal due to injuries but the 35-year-old was at his inspirational best in 65 minutes on the pitch against Malta.

"Tomas will be ready and I think he showed today why he is an important player," coach Pavel Vrba told reporters.

Cech passed Karel Poborsky, a hero of the 1996 team who finished European Championship runners-up, as the most capped Czech player. Rosicky is third on the list.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet)

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