Czechs put in great display to beat Slovaks in Euro 2008 qualifier
Bratislava was the venue on Wednesday night for a very keenly anticipated soccer game between former federal partners Slovakia and the Czech Republic. It was the first time the two countries had met for several years and there was a lot to play for, as both teams bid to reach the 2008 European Championships. The atmosphere was electric, and friendly, for the match, which the Czech Republic won 3:0.
It seemed set up for quite an even contest. Following the retirement of players like Pavel Nedved and Karel Poborsky, the Czech team is in a period of transition. Slovak football, meanwhile, is on the up: Slovakia reached the World Cup playoffs and a number of their players are now with famous European clubs.
Here's what man-of-the-match Libor Sionko had to say after the game.
"Of course the game went really well for me. I'm not a typical striker, I'm more of a midfield player. Things didn't work out for the Slovak team...3:0, that's a big gap. The fans were fantastic and I'm extremely glad that so many came and spurred us on. Both countries' fans were great - it was a joy to play in such an atmosphere."
So two Euro 2008 qualifiers, two wins - not a bad start to Tomas Rosicky's career as Czech captain. He was all smiles after Wednesday's game.
"It's pleasant, definitely, though as yet it doesn't mean anything - the qualification process is a long one. Of course, our start has gone as we would have wished. But like I say, the journey ahead of us is still long."
The Czechs have two more Euro qualifiers this year, against San Marino at home on October 7 and against Ireland in Dublin four days later.