Veteran members of the Czech national football team, who finished second in the European Championships at Wembley at Euro ’96, reunited in Prague on Monday to face fellow veterans from the German squad, who won the championship. The Czech team, featuring legends like Pavel Nedvěd, Patrik Berger, Karel Poborský, Pavel Kuka and others faced a squad led by Lothar Matthaus at Prague’s Eden Stadium. In ‘96 the Czechs lost 2:1 on a golden goal in extra time; on Monday the Czechs, under former national team coach Dušan Uhřín, dominated 6:3. Euro ’96 featured many unforgettable moments including Karel Poborský’s famous lob against Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía in the quarterfinal.
Former Czechoslovak ice hockey and soccer international Vlastimil Bubník has died at the age of 83. Bubník was part of the ice hockey team that took bronze at the 1964 Winter Olympics and earned three World Championship medals. He played for Brno ice hockey club as well as the football club RH Brno. Between 1957 and 1960 he made 11 appearances for Czechoslovakia’s soccer team, including at the European Nations’ Cup, scoring four goals.
Theirs was one of the greatest tennis rivalries in the open era: John McEnroe versus Ivan Lendl. McEnroe, best-known for his legendary temper and exceptional serve-and-volley, and Lendl, famous for his ice-cold expression and heavy baseline hits, faced each other on dozens of occasions and the rivalry was intense. Today, though, as the veteran players prepare to meet in Bratislava, both say they are on far better terms than some might expect.
A statue of the famous Czech long-distance runner Emil Zátopek has been unveiled at a sports stadium in Zlín, south Moravia. The four-time Olympic champion used to run at the Stadium of Youth and met his wife Dana at the venue. The life-sized bronze sculpture, which is by Radim Hanke, depicts Zátopek running in his trademark pained-looking style and stands metres from the stadium’s 400m track.
Next Monday a group of fans of Bohemians 1905 are setting off on a huge adventure. The supporters are heading to Australia to retrace a famous 1920s tour that gave the Prague soccer club both their name and their “kangaroo” logo. Among the party visiting 10 cities Down Under will be Darek Jakubowicz, whose family company are coincidentally majority shareholders and main sponsors of Bohemians. When he visited our studio, I first asked Darek how the original tour had come about.
Anyone interested in the history of athletics will have heard of Emil Zátopek, the greatest Czech long-distance runner of all time. His life story is the subject of a short novel by the Prix Goncourt winning French writer, Jean Echenoz, called simply “Running” – “Courir” in the original French. The book is an account of the life of an athlete whose quiet, determined attitude towards his sport contrasted with the complex political dramas going on around him in mid-20th century Europe. David Vaughan looks at the book and at the life of Emil
Legendary Czech footballer Josef “Pepi” Bican, who died in 2001, has been named to the Czech F.A.’s Hall of Fame. The striker, who played for Slavia Prague, was inducted on the date of what would have been his 100th birthday. Originally, Bican’s name was to have been added in 2012, but the move was originally blocked by his son, on the grounds that persecution of his father by the former communist regime had not been acknowledged by the football association. The association’s head, Miroslav Pelta, addressed the past and apologised earlier this year.
The legendary footballer Josef “Pepi” Bican, was inducted in the Czech Football Association’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday, on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Officially recognized as the most prolific scorer in the history of the game, Pepi Bican is said to have scored an incredible 4,500 goals in his career.
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