The Czech National football team beat Cyprus 2:0 on Wednesday to finish first in their qualifying group for Euro 2008, ahead of Germany. As both the Czech Republic and Germany had already qualified for Euro 2008, which will be held in Austria and Switzerland, the last round of matches only determined which of the advancing teams finished first. While the Czechs took three points from an away victory in Cyrpus, Germany only managed to draw 0:0 with Wales at home.
A FIFA draw in Durban, South Africa on Sunday determined qualifying groups for 2010’s football World Cup. Some 53 European national teams were drawn into 9 groups. The Czech Republic ended up in Group 3 and will face Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Northern Ireland and San Marino to secure a position at the World Cup 2010 tournament to be held in South Africa, for the first time ever on the African continent. Only the winner of each group will qualify directly. Czech press refers to Group 3 as ‘manageable’ with only Poland posing a serious threat to Czech hopes of qualifying for their second World Cup in a row.
In the Czech Gamrinus Liga, Brno beat Sparta Prague 4:2 on Sunday, marking the first victory over the Prague-based team in 10 years. In rather a tough and aggressive game, Sparta took the lead when Kisel scored in the opening phase of the match, but Brno managed to bring the game to a draw before the first half was over. Two goals by Brno then came between the 61st and 68th minutes, both by Lubos Kalouda, a member of the Czech Under-20 team, which came second in this year’s World Cup. With two more goals scored by each side towards the end of the match, Brno took three points from a long-awaited victory over Sparta.
Czech down-hill skier and world champion Sarka Zahrobska finished second in a World Cup slalom event held in Panorama, Canada, on Sunday. After the first round, Zahrobska was third behind Austria’s Marlies Schild and Ana Jelusic of Croatia. In the second round, Zahrobska was faster then the Croatian and finished second, 0.68 of a second behind Schild. For Zahrobska, the slalom in Panorama brought here the fourth World Cup medal of her career.
In cross-country skiing, Lukas Bauer took silver in a 15-km World Cup event in Norway on Saturday. Bauer was leading throughout much of the season’s opening race and was hoping to come in first but Germany’s Axel Teichmann was faster in the final passages of the 15-km track and beat the Czech by 6.3 seconds.
Milos Riha of Pardubice became the first head coach in the top ice-hockey division to be fired over poor results. Before the start of the season, Pardubice had hopes to spend the season within the top five of the league. But until their home CEZ Arena was finished well into the season, the team was performing poorly in a series of away games. The Pardubice management decided to release Mr Riha after his team lost to the rookie Usti nad Labem 4:5 on Sunday.
Forward Radim Vrbata scored four goals and registered two assists for the Phoenix Coyotes in two games over the weekend against Anaheim and Toronto. Vrbata now hopes the games were a turning point of the season for him as he had not scored in six previous games.
Veteran goalie Dominik Hasek of the Detroit Red Wings was left on the bench in three of the last four of his team’s matches due to poor performances. Hasek has currently the worst goals-against average in the whole competition but says he believes he will come back again to be the team’s number one goalkeeper.
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