The Czech football squad are now at their base camp in the Austrian Tyrol, and looking forward to playing Switzerland in the Euro 2008 curtain raiser on Saturday evening. The Czechs experimented with line-up and formation in two successful warm-up games last week against Lithuania and Scotland, though it is still not clear whether they will play with two strikers or a five-man midfield. I spoke to goalkeeper Petr Čech before the team left Prague on Monday, and began by asking him what had been learned from last week’s friendlies.
Many fans of classical music in the Czech capital have been closely following the Prague Spring Festival drawing to a close this week. But how many knew that some of these classical musicians also play football? On Sunday members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra faced the Czech Radio Symphony in a 5-aside football friendly in Prague’s Hanspaulka district.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic complete their preparations for Euro 2008 with a solid 3:1 win over Scotland – we speak to two-goal man-of-the-match Libor Sionko; Radek Štěpánek and the rather less well known Petra Kvitová make it to week two at the French Open; and a goal from young Czech ice hockey star Jiří Hudler brings Detroit to within one win of the NHL’s Stanley Cup.
In Sports News: the bad results keep coming for Nicole Vaidišová, who was knocked out in her first match at the French Open – her fifth first-round exit in a row; the Czech football squad are preparing for Euro 2008 warm-up games against Lithuania and Scotland, though with Tomáš Rosický out of action, questions remain over their most effective line-up – and who should wear the captain’s armband; and Vítězslav Lavička looks set to take the hottest seat in Czech domestic football, the manager’s job at Sparta Prague.
Vandalism and football hooliganism that has become an increasing problem for both the authorities and people living in the vicinity of football stadiums. The interior ministry has now announced strict new measures to bring the problem under control. Football hooliganism continues to be a major drain on police resources as well as a safety threat.
Manchester United overcame Chelsea on penalties in last night's Champions League final clash in Moscow. Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech played his part in the drama, saving a penalty in the shootout, but his club season with Chelsea has ultimately ended without silverware. Čech will now be hoping to put disappointment with his club side behind him as he looks ahead to the Czech Republic's participation in the European Championships this summer.
In Sports News this Monday: it’s all football today, with Slavia Prague winning their first league title in 12 years; after their rollercoaster end to the season, Slavia coach Karel Jarolím says, all’s well that ends well, while midfield veteran Vladimír Šmicer compares this team to the 1996 Slavia title-winning side; Bohemians 1905 and Most are relegated; and Czech international goalkeeper Petr Čech is looking forward to what he says is the biggest game of his career, the Champions League final.
Four minutes can be a long time in hockey, especially when guarding the slimmest of leads, the situation for the Czech Republic in its quarterfinal match against Sweden on Wednesday at the Ice Hockey World Championship. In the final minutes, the national team led Sweden 2-1 but failed to block an equaliser sending the game into overtime. Worse, in OT, the Swedes struck again, making this the second year in a row the Czechs will finish outside the medals.
In Sports News: Sparta Prague collapse and Slavia Prague go two points ahead with one game remaining in the Czech football league; Sparta’s boss announces his decision to quit at the end of the season – and is promptly sacked; the Czechs are beaten by Sweden at the Ice Hockey World Championships; Patrik Eliáš is hurt by a TV camera in that game, but should be fit for Wednesday’s quarter-finals game; Štěpánka Hilgertová, 40, wins her second European slalom title; and Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara wins the Prague International Marathon.
The official opening of Slavia Prague's new stadium on Wednesday night was a momentous occasion for the football club, who for seven years had no ground of their own while a reconstruction project dragged on at their traditional home at Eden in Prague 10. Fourteen thousand red-and-white fans turned out to see the ultra-modern stadium, and an exhibition game between Slavia and Oxford University - the two sides having first played each other in 1899.