The Czech ice hockey team have secured a place in the last eight at the World Championships in Riga, after an impressive victory over Canada on Sunday. The Czechs stormed to a 3:0 lead after just 14 minutes and though the Canadians fought back Alois Hadamczik's men held on for a deserved 6:4 victory. The excellent David Vyborny, scorer of the Czechs' second goal, said the other big teams would now have to contend with the Czech Republic.
He and his team-mates are next in action against the USA on Tuesday afternoon, in their final game in the second group stage.
There were high drama and allegations of corruption on the last weekend of the Czech football league. Mlada Boleslav beat Liberec - already crowned champions - 3:2 on Saturday to secure second place, and a berth in the Champions League qualifiers. But two dubious penalty decisions in favour of Boleslav cast a shadow over the game. Slavia Prague finished third and go into the UEFA Cup, while fourth-placed Teplice are in the Intertoto Cup.
At the other end of the table, Plzen avoided the drop after beating Sparta 3:1 in Prague. Sparta's players have been fined almost 50,000 dollars by their management after seeming to throw the game: Plzen's manager Frantisek Straka has remained popular with both Sparta players and fans since being sacked by the Prague club. Jihlava and Blsany were relegated.
By the way the top scorer in the Czech league this season was Milan Ivana of Slovacko with a tally of - wait for it - 11 goals.
The Czech football manager, Karel Bruckner, has just announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup finals in Germany. Several players currently injured, such as Karel Poborsky and Vladimir Smicer, have been included, as have the likes of Jiri Stajner and Radoslav Kovac, who did not go to Euro 2004. Rudolf Skacel and Libor Sionko are on standby for call-up if any players are forced to drop out.
Skacel scored a goal for Hearts on their way to victory in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday. The Czech midfielder says he wants to leave the club in the summer and bid goodbye to Hearts fans after what has been an absolutely incredible season.
Pavel Nedved won another Italian league title with Juventus, though the club has become mired in allegations of match-fixing.
The Czech Under 17s were beaten in the final of their European Championships in Luxembourg on Sunday; after drawing 2:2 with Russia the Czechs were beaten 5:3 on penalties.
The final of tennis's Prague Open on Sunday was an all Czech affair, with Robin Vik beating his compatriot Jan Hayek 6-4 7-6. Vik, who is 26, is the fourth Czech to win the Prague Open since it was founded six years ago.
This year's Prague Marathon was won by Kenyan-born runner Hasan Mubarak Shami. Shami, who now represents Qatar, made a time of 2:11:11 in Sunday's race. Pavel Faschingbauer was the best of the Czechs, coming fifth with a personal record finish. In the women's race first place went to Alina Ivanova of Russia, whose time was 2:29:20. Ivana Martincova in eighth was the best-placed Czech woman.
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