Sports News

Michal Pospisil, photo: CTK

Joy for Czech Under 21s as they reach European football final with a dramatic golden goal. Both Arsenal and West Ham reportedly interested in Sparta keeper Petr Cech. Enge comes third in Formula 3000 in Monaco, and is second overall. Those stories and more feature in Sports News.

Jubilation for Under 21s as they reach European football final

Michal Pospisil, photo: CTK
Czech football fans have finally got something to smile about - the Czech Under 21s have reached the final of the European Under 21 Championships in Switzerland, following a thrilling 3:2 win over title-holders Italy on Saturday night. The Czechs got off to a magnificent start, with a goal in the first minute from David Rozehnal, and must have thought it was all over when substitute Michal Pospisil made it 2:0 with only eight minutes to go. But Italy weren't going home without a fight; they converted a penalty and followed it with a last minute equaliser, forcing the game to extra time. Sudden death turned into unbridled joy for the Czechs when Pospisil scored the golden goal in the 98th minute, sending the "lion cubs" to their second final in a row. After the game a jubilant Pospisil attributed the Czech victory to excellent team spirit and will to win, traits some might say the Czech senior side is sorely lacking.

And his teammate Libor Zurek had this to say after the game.

"We really wanted to get to the final. When we were winning 2:0 we thought we'd manage to hold on without too much trouble. Then they got a penalty and with the pressure coming from their fans they managed to get another. There were so many Italian fans it was like they were playing at home. It's a fantastic success for us."

The final takes place on Tuesday night against France, who you'll recall beat the Czech Republic 2:0 in the opening group game.

English clubs interested in Sparta keeper Petr Cech

International championships are of course a marvelous shop window for emerging talents, and it looks like the Under 21 goalkeeper, Petr Cech of Sparta Prague, has been making a good impression - English clubs West Ham and champins Arsenal have expressed interest in the player, who last season set a Czech clean-sheet record of an incredible 855 minutes.

Enge comes third in Monaco Formula 3000, now second overall

The Czech racing driver Tomas Enge's good run has continued with a third place finish in the Monaco Formula 3000 Grand Prix, after starting the race in seventh place. The 25-year-old Enge expressed his satisfaction after the race - I wouldn't have believed before the race that I'd manage to come third and drive the fastest lap of the race, he said. The Liberec-born driver is second in the Formula 3000 overall table.

Lener favourite for hockey job, as Augusta clashes with Gut

The Czech Ice Hockey Union are due to announce who will coach the national team on Monday. One contender at least now looks very unlikely to get the job; Josef Augusta - whose contract was terminated recently - has reportedly been involved in heated exchanges with the head of the hockey union, Karel Gut. The bookies favourite for the job is Slavomir Lener.

Opava basketball champions for third time in their history

Moving on to basketball and Opava have been crowned Czech champions for the third time, after an 82:63 win over Kunin, to end the series 4:2. The win means that Opava player Petr Czudek now holds the record for the number of league winners medals - in his career he has won three titles with Brno and three with Opava.