As the World Ice Hockey Championships in Vienna entered the second group phase, the Czech Republic immediately ensured progress to the quarter-finals, with a resounding 5:1 win over Slovakia on Saturday evening. All eyes were on Czech megastar Jaromir Jagr, who wore a special guard to protect his little finger broken in an earlier game. Jagr came through with flying colours, notching up two assists and dazzling the crowd with his skills. The Kladno-born legend had this to say about his injured finger after the game.
"We won, so it didn't hurt so much! But I know it will hurt during the night. I'm glad I didn't have injections, I just took pills. I said I'd have injections if it hurt really badly. Otherwise I'd just play as usual."
And Jagr played as usual on Sunday, when the Czech Republic took on their traditional foes Russia. His assist led to the opening goal for David Vyborny near the end of the first period. But the Czechs failed to hold on to that lead, eventually losing 2:1. Defender Pavel Kubina was disappointed by the team's first defeat in Vienna.
"We could have decided it in the first period but we didn't score, except during a power play - it's a pity. I had one chance which hit the post but didn't go in - if it had we would have won. We want to win every game, including against Belarus on Tuesday. The knockout stage starts with the quarter-finals on Thursday, so then it will be all to play for."
Meanwhile, the holding of the Championships in Vienna has come in for some criticism from the Czech media. The actual ice itself is reported to be substandard, while there have been low turnouts in second venue Innsbruck and little coverage in the Austrian media. And Czech fans - thousands of whom are in Austria for the competition - have been complaining about the price and quality of the local beer.
The freshly crowned champions of Czech football Sparta Prague were humiliated by Mlada Boleslav on Saturday. One-nil up with just five minutes to go, Sparta were left with egg on their faces when they conceded two goals in quick succession. Elsewhere, Teplice kept up the chase for second place and a Champions League playoff with a 1:0 home win over Pribram.
Off the pitch, Pribram boss Jaroslav Straka was lucky to escape with light injuries after being shot at outside his home on Friday. Straka says he does not know why anybody would want to kill him.
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