The Czech football team are preparing for their last game before the summer, a Euro 2008 qualifier against Wales this Saturday. That match will be the end of a long season for goalkeeper Petr Cech, who underwent shoulder operations last summer and then suffered a life-threatening head injury in October. Cech made an unusually swift recovery, but despite his return Chelsea failed in their bid to win four competitions, ending up with "just" the English league and FA cups. How does Cech himself see the season?
England legend Gary Lineker famously described football as a simple game in which two teams of 11 chase a ball for 90 minutes and the Germans always win. Well, here in the Czech Republic it seems it's a sport that Sparta Prague always win - they have just taken the 34th league title in their history. That said, it was far from a routine win for Sparta, with the most dramatic end to the season in many a long year.
In Sports News this week: Roman Sebrle falls short of a record six straight wins in the decathlon at Austria's Gotzis, while Tomas Dvorak - briefly - reminds spectators of his glory days; its D-Day the Czech football league, with Sparta Prague closing in on the double; Karel Poborsky plays his last game; and has ice hockey legend Dominik Hasek played his?
In Sports News: young motorcyclist Lukas Pesek comes second in the French Grand Prix, increasing his lead in the 125cc world championship standings; seven weeks after a series crash, racing driver Tomas Enge is back with a win; football goalie Petr Cech wins the FA Cup with Chelsea, while former Czech no. 1 Pavel Srnicek is looking for a new club; and Radek Stepanek falls out of the world top 50 after a first-round exit from the Hamburg Masters.
Last week was no doubt an important one for Czech mountaineering fans: two Czech climbers in separate expeditions conquered Mt Everest: at 8,848 metres the world's tallest peak. Klara Polackova made headlines first last Wednesday, when she become the first Czech female to summit Everest and two days later the peak was reached by the highly-prolific Pavel Bem, Prague's lord mayor.
In Sports News this week: the Prague International Marathon is won by a European runner for the first time ever; Czech tennis star Nicole Vaidisova climbs to seventh in the world rankings, her highest placing ever; and Sparta and Liberec chase the Czech football league title, while Slovacko are relegated after seven years in the top flight.
Four years after he stepped down as president, Vaclav Havel is probably still the best known living Czech statesman or politician in world terms. I sometimes think, though, that today the best known Czech of all - one admired everywhere from Africa to the Far East - has nothing to do with politics, and indeed was only seven years old at the time of the Velvet Revolution. What's more, people around the globe surely have no problem remembering the little country he comes from - after all, his surname is Cech.
In Sports News: the Czech Republic come close to an embarrassing early exit from the World Ice Hockey Championships but scrape through by taking a point from Canada; motorcyclist Lukas Pesek is the first Czech ever to win a 125 cc Grand Prix race; things remain extremely tight at the top of the Czech football league, with a last-minute goal keeping Liberec in front; Sparta goalie Jaromir Blazek gets a dream move abroad at 34; and injuries force 2002 Olympic champion Ales Valenta to retire.