Why are Czech Republic called Czechia at Euro 2024?

Czechia’s star midfielder Tomas Soucek stretches in training (EPA)
Czechia’s star midfielder Tomas Soucek stretches in training (EPA)

Czech Republic begin their Euro 2024 campaign tonight with a tough match against Portugal.

The Czechs will be hoping to get off to a positive start in a tough Group F, which also contains Turkey and debutants Georgia, who clashed in Dortmund earlier on Tuesday.

West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek is at the heart of a side that takes on Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of a very strong Portuguese team.

Fans and viewers may notice that Czech Republic are often being referred to as “Czechia” over the coming weeks, and officially listed by Uefa under the shorter name. Broadcasters, commentators and pundits have increasingly taken to using the name Czechia in the build-up to this tournament.

The country was named Czechoslovakia when first established in 1918 after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and this name was re-established when Nazi occupation ended after the second world war. In 1992, in the wake the fall of the Soviet Union, the Czech Republic and Slovakia were created as two independent states.

Czech Republic actually changed its preferred name to Czechia on 1 July 2016. The country’s government approved the new name as its English-language title, with the intention of promoting the usage to “reduce confusion for English speakers and enhance the the country’s identity and economy”, according to the UK government’s official Permanent Committee on Geographical Names (PCGN).

Although it has been slow to catch on, the Czech government’s insistence on the usage of Czechia in areas relating to sport, literature, music, media and art have pushed it to the fore in recent years – illustrated by its increasing appearance in football and at this European Championship.

Czech Republic, however, remains the country’s official name and the two have become interchangeable.