Czechs return emptyhanded from hockey worlds after loss to Russia in bronze game; Slavia celebrate soccer title with home victory over Sparta; and Czech women advance at French Open but Kvitová forced to pull out.
The Czech Republic have returned from the Ice Hockey World Championships in Slovakia emptyhanded. Coach Miloš Říha’s players were beaten in the semi-finals 5:1 by Canada but hoped to at least pick up a bronze medal in Sunday’s third-place game against Russia. However, that was not to be, with the Russians picking up the consolation prize 3:2 after a penalty shootout.
Czech captain Jakub Voráček spoke to Czech Radio after the game.
“It’s probably the biggest disappointment of my career. We came so close. I think this was the best game of the Championships. There were so many chances. We put everything into scoring a goal. Unfortunately we lost in the shootout. So a big disappointment.”
The Czech Republic haven’t won gold at the World Championships since 2010, when they overcame Russia, and last took any kind of medal with a bronze two years later.
Coach Miloš Říha was also disappointed after Sunday’s third-place playoff – but said he was still looking to the future with the group of players he had taken to Slovakia.
“They said they would like to play again for the national team. This includes those who didn’t get to play, such as Chytil and Vrána, who were discussed a lot. They definitely want to come back to the national team and don’t feel wronged at all. It’s the same for the guys who made up the base of the team – they said they’ll come if they’re called up.”
Slavia Prague got to really celebrate last weekend’s clinching of the Czech football league title on Sunday. The champions beat old rivals Sparta Prague 2:1 at their Eden stadium for the icing on the cake of a great season that has also seen them reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League and achieve a league and cup double for the first time in 77 years.
The first of Slavia’s goals was scored by Tomáš Souček, one of their standout players this term. He said he didn’t mind the club’s fans running onto the pitch to celebrate too.
“I was euphoric, because we beat Sparta. We completed the last target of our fairytale in front of our own fans. I wasn’t at all scared by it, though others could be [laughs]. The fans were great – they all slapped us on the back.”
Czechs Karolína Plíšková and Markéta Vondroušová advanced to the second round at the French Open in Paris on Sunday, while Jiří Veselý exited in the first round. Petra Kvitová is also out. She announced on Twitter on Monday that an MRI scan had confirmed that appearing at Roland-Garros could exacerbate a problem with her left forearm.