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TOULOUSE, France – Spain goalkeeper David De Gea finally put a bad week behind him, displacing his country's perennial No. 1 Iker Casillas and making a vital save at the end of his team's 1-0 win over the Czech Republic on Monday in their European Championship opener.
De Gea helped Spain extend its tournament record of not conceding a goal for 600 minutes, three days after facing allegations involving a pornography filmmaker.
But his opposition counterpart, Petr Cech, nearly stole the spotlight, producing a string of superb saves that kept the Czech Republic in the match. The veteran goalkeeper recently set a record of most international appearances for his country and now has 122. His form will be essential if the Czech Republic has any chance of advancing at Euro 2016. Here are a few things to know about the two goalkeepers.
DAVID DE GEA
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque waited until the last minute to name De Gea as the starter in goal ahead of Casillas after a police investigation threatened to destabilize La Roja's camp.
The 25-year-old De Gea's name appeared in court papers on Friday in which a protected witness accused him of promoting an encounter between her and two other soccer players.
De Gea has denied the allegations, which came as a shock to many in the soccer world because the Manchester United player hasn't been known to attract controversy.
The scandal overshadowed the fact that De Gea was finally going to get his chance to take the reins from one of Spain's most iconic players. Casillas' name being left off the team sheet in a major tournament would have seemed unfathomable only a few years ago, but poor outings at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and a move from Real Madrid to FC Porto prompted a rethink.
De Gea was a spectator for most of Spain's match against the Czech Republic, but he appeared composed in goal when called upon. Del Bosque left it vague over whether De Gea would start against Turkey in Spain's next Group D match.
"The game's just finished," he said. "It's not the moment to talk about who will play the next match. We have to make our evaluations and then we'll see."
De Gea didn't seemed fazed by the controversy surrounding him — a feeling supported by one of his teammates.
"De Gea is playing with confidence," Spain captain Sergio Ramos said.
The 34-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper showed again against Spain why he has been so important to the Czech Republic.
He pushed away, punched and caught dangerous shots, giving hope to the Czech fans that the team could produce a result against the European champion. But Cech couldn't do anything when Andres Iniesta whipped in a pinpoint cross in the 87th minute for Gerard Pique to head home. He called it tough, but praised his teammates for their efforts.
"I thought we did exceptionally well for 86 minutes," Cech said. "We were constantly under pressure, but we managed to block them and (tried) to keep a clean sheet all the way. But unfortunately their talent and their quality is huge and they managed to find the goal."
Many thought that Cech was past his prime when Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho allowed him to move to Arsenal last season. But Czech coach Pavel Vrba suggested that may have been a premature decision when asked about Cech's importance to the team.
"Petr Cech? I think Arsenal did a very good job buying him from Chelsea!" Vrba exclaimed.