It was billed as a preparatory game for the big one against world and European champions Spain in just over a month, but this was the sort of preparation that the Czech football team could have done without. They went down 2:4 in a friendly against Croatia with the home side putting a record tally of goals into the Czech net.
In Sports News this Monday: Zdeněk Štybar defends his world cyclo-cross tite; Tomáš Verner takes bronze at the European Figure Skating Championships; in tennis, Jiří Veselý wins the junior boys’ singles at the Australian Open, and in football, Sparta’s Ivory Coast striker Bony Wilfried joins the Dutch club Arnhem.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych played in the quarterfinal match at the Australian Open on Tuesday, the furthest the sixth-seeded player has ever gotten in the Grand Slam tournament. But if he had played well so far, he hit a wall in the form of Serbian opponent Novak Djokovic at the Rod Laver arena in Melbourne.
Serious problems at the country’s biggest lottery and betting firm, Sazka, have highlighted the issue of how to finance Czech sports. The government no longer trusts the Czech Sports Association, which is Sazka’s biggest stockholder, with distributing funds among individual sports federations, and on Thursday, officials unveiled a new financing plan that that cuts out that middle men.
In Sports News: Czech tennis players Berdych, Záhlavová off to winning start at Australian Open; Czechs suffer disappointing Dakar Rally; goalkeeper Per Čech confident Chelsea are recovering from slump; Hamrlík & Plekanec score for the Canadiens in the NHL; ski jumper Jan Matura clinches best result of career.
They started out with dreams of positions on the winners’ podium but for many the most tangible souvenirs are broken bones and trips to the hospital. Many Czech competitors in the gruelling Dakar rally went out with a bang. But for one of the best hopes of a winning place, Tatra lorry driver Aleš Loprais, it was more like a whimper.