The Czech Republic crushed Sweden 6-1 on Tuesday night to secure a spot in the 2004 Ice Hockey World Cup semi-finals in North America, where they will probably face off against Canada. The Czech team, whose mentor and coach Ivan Hlinka died in a car accident last month, had lost 4-3 to the Scandinavian team during their first meeting on Wednesday last week and had not been favoured to win Tuesday's match. However, the Czechs started out strong and never relinquished their lead over the Swedes, who couldn't seem to organise their play to prevent sloppy defence and shaky goalkeeping, as well as to create more chances in offence.
In Sports News: the Ice Hockey World Cup came to Prague last Friday and the Czechs got their first win of the tournament - we talk to Czech stars Jaromir Jagr and Petr Sykora about the team's chances of going further in the tournament; in football, the Czech midfield is in disarray ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Holland; and Czech tennis has a new hero in Tomas Berdych, who has reached the last 16 at the US Open.
The Czech Republic celebrated its first victory at the ice-hockey World Cup when it beat Germany 7-2 at Prague's Sazka arena on Friday evening. The win means the Czechs finish the round-robin stage in third place. At the quarter finals on Tuesday, they will face the losers of Saturday's game between Finland and Sweden.
Just over two weeks ago the Czech Republic lost one of its all-time great sports heroes, former hockey player and later coach, Ivan Hlinka, who was killed in a car accident just outside the west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary. In this Special we look back at Ivan Hlinka - the player, the hockey legend - as recalled by players and friends, a man mourned by many and now sorely missed.
In Sports News: the closing weekend of the Athens Olympics was disappointing for the Czech Republic, with Jan Zelezny finishing ninth in the javelin and other athletes narrowly missing out on medals; the Czech ice hockey team are preparing for their opening game at the sport's World Cup; Tomas Galasek looks set to miss the Czech football team's first World Cup qualifier on Wednesday week.
Vladimir Ruzicka will coach the Czech ice hockey team at the forthcoming World Cup, following the tragic death of Ivan Hlinka on Monday. The 1998 Olympic winning Czech team coached by Hlinka was captained by Ruzicka, and the two men were good friends. The Czech Extraliga is expected to start a week later than planned, to accommodate Ruzicka, who coaches the club Slavia Prague.
The coach of the Czech national hockey team, Ivan Hlinka, has died in hospital from injuries sustained in a car accident on Monday morning. Mr Hlinka was returning to Prague from the spa town of Karlovy Vary when his car collided head on with a truck going the opposite direction. The truck driver is reportedly at fault, having poorly timed an attempt to overtake another car. Ivan Hlinka, aged 54, was best known for leading the Czech hockey team to victory in the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Nagano, Japan.
In Sports News: Katerina Kurkova has won the first Czech medal at the Athens Olympics - we have the reactions of both the shooter herself and her trainer father; tennis number one Jiri Novak has beaten Tim Hemnan in Athens, while Martina Navratilova is enjoying her first games. In other sports: Robert Lang has been named Czech ice hockey player of the year, and football goalkeeper Petr Cech has got off to a great star at glamour club Chelsea.
In Sports News: as the Czech football team prepare for their opening game at Euro 2004, experienced midfielder Vladimir Smicer tells us even though their opponents on Tuesday are the unfancied Latvia, the first game is always very difficult. In ice hockey, goaltender Dominik Hasek looks set to join Ottawa and Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak has recorded his best ever placing on grass, just a week before Wimbledon.
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