Yes, it's the sport of course, and in football it was a woeful night for the Czech Republic in Malta. Josef Chovanec's team had been expected to make light work of the part-timers and extend their amazing run in qualifying matches to 16 victories on the trot. As it was, stolid defending and some inspirational goalkeeping from Malta's Mario Muscat ensured that the minnows held out for a goalless draw.
To cap a terrible night, Tomas Repka was shown the red card after an altercation with a Maltese player.
The Czechs, as expected, dominated the match and created the best chances. Horvath, Bejbl and Fukal all went close in the first half, and captain Pavel Nedved had a powerful shot turned away by Muscat. The best moment of the match came early in the second half when Sionko and Horvath interchanged passes before setting up Jan Koller with a gilt-edged opportunity. However, the lanky Anderlect forward blasted the ball high and wide with only Muscat to beat.
After Repka's dismissal, Malta seemed to grow in confidence and created two good chances to snatch victory. Pavel Nedved skimmed a shot past the post from 30 metres late on, but it was too little too late.
No damage to the Czechs position in the group, though. They still lead the way with 7 points from three matches.
Finally, the Czech Hockey Association have decided not to meet representatives of the Bohemians Sports Club to discuss the construction of their new multi-purpose arena. The Federation were concerned that Bohemians seem to be neglecting promises made with them concerning the design of the hall and the building contractors. The new venue is due to host the World Hockey Championships in 2003.
The Association's Chairman, Karel Gut, told reporters that if Bohemians didn't comply with the original agreement, then another solution would have to found.
Turning to tennis, and Slava Dosedel has advanced to the second round of the CA Trophy in Vienna, albeit with a bit of good fortune. Losing 5-3 in the first set of his match against the number-three seed, Thomas Enquist, his opponent had to retire with a knee injury.