June 1904: Czech goalkeeping great František Plánička is born

František Plánička

Goalkeeper František Plánička, regarded as one of the greatest names in the history of Czech soccer, was born on June 2, 1904.

František Plánička, who was born in the Prague district of Žižkov, was rejected at a young age by Sparta Prague, who said that he was too short to be a top-class goalkeeper.

František Plánička at the World Championships in Italy,  1934 | Photo: e-Sbírky,  National Museum,  CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 DEED

He then spent his entire playing career at Slavia Prague, during which time the club clinched the domestic league title eight times and the Mitropa Cup, a Central European club competition, once.

Plánička also played for the Czechoslovak national side, picking up 73 caps. He was team captain at the 1934 World Cup, where the country were runners-up to hosts Italy.

He was also captain during the next World Cup, when he stayed on the pitch in a match against Brazil despite suffering a broken arm, an injury that later forced him into retirement.

Plánička was never once booked or sent off in his career and in 1985, many decades after his retirement, was presented with the UNESCO International Fair Play Award.

He is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of all time. Indeed in 1999 the International Federation of Football History & Statistics named him best Czech goalkeeper, as well as sixth best in Europe and ninth best in the world, of the 20th century.