Sports News

Ales Valenta and Katerina Neumannova, photo: CTK

The Czech Republic have beaten one of the favourites for football's World Cup, Italy. Meanwhile the Under 21s have won one, lost one in the group stage of the European Under 21 Championships. The Czech ice hockey team is currently without a coach, but Josef Augusta still has a chance of a new contract. Awards for Olympic medal-winning skiers Valenta and Neumannova. That's all in Sports News.

Czech Republic beat World Cup hopefuls Italy in Prague friendly

Karel Poborsky  (left),  photo: CTK
The Czech Republic may have failed to qualify for the football World Cup, which gets under way in just under a fortnight, but the team will have taken some consolation from beating one of the favourites Italy in Prague on Saturday night. The only goal of the friendly came from a header by Liverpool's Vladimir Smicer in the 25th minute. New Sparta Prague signing Karel Poborsky almost got a second for the Czech Republic near the end, following a sweet one-two with Jan Koller. Poborsky had this to say after the game.

"We managed to play together quickly and to release the ball quickly. Maybe they were a bit taken aback and we were relaxed throughout the game, and I'd say we deserved to win in the end."

It was Karel Brueckner's first home game since he was appointed coach late last year, and the first big team the Czechs had faced since he took over. He expressed his satisfaction after the game.

"I told the players that although playing Italy is a kind of day out, they shouldn't just participate, they should aim to win. I think the players understood that and that aim was realised in the end."

Under 21s win one, lose one at European Championships

The Czech Under 21s lost their opening game at the Under 21 European Championships in Switzerland, going down 2:0 against favourites France on Thursday. The youngsters, who had only lost two games out of the previous 18, bounced back on Sunday, with a Martin Jiranek goal securing a 1:0 win over Belgium. The "Lion Cubs", as the Czech press call them, will need to beat Greece in their last group game on Tuesday to go forward to the semi-finals.

In domestic football, Ceske Budejovice and Zlin have been celebrating after winning promotion to the Czech first division at the weekend.

New (or old?) Czech ice hockey manager to be announced soon

The Czech ice hockey team is currently without a manager, following a meeting of the Czech ice hockey union on Friday. Chairman Karel Gut has not ruled out the possibility of Josef Augusta, whose contract was terminated on Friday, being kept on. A decision is to be announced in the next two weeks. Augusta led the Czechs to victory in the 2000 and 2001 world championships - success which has not been repeated this year.

Valenta and Neumannova share honours in skiing awards

Ales Valenta and Katerina Neumannova,  photo: CTK
The skiing season ended quite a while ago of course, but Olympic medalists Ales Valenta and Katerina Neumannova have not been forgotten; both won prizes at the King of the White Tracks awards on Friday. Freestyle aerial skier Valenta won the jury award, while the cross-country skier Neumannova came first in the public vote.

Czech climber ascends a crowded Mount Everest

Miloslav Caban  (right) and Miloslav Palacky,  photo: CTK
Czech climber Miroslav Caban has just climbed Mount Everest, without the use of oxygen. Caban was just one of an incredible 40 people who reached the peak of Everest on Saturday.