Sports News

Jan Koller (left), photo: CTK

The Czech Republic's football team impress in a 4:1 win over Slovakia, with Dortmund players Koller and Rosicky getting two apiece. Patrik Berger, not even on the bench these days at Liverpool, is considering his future. In ice hockey, coach Lener has made a couple of surprising selections, and some of the Czech Republic's top tennis players face tough competition in the first round of the US Open. That's all in Sports News.

Koller and Rosicky get two apiece as Czech Republic cruise past Slovakia

Tomas Rosicky  (right),  photo: CTK
We start with football, and the Czech Republic looked more impressive than they had been for some time when they took on their old countrymen Slovakia in a home friendly on Wednesday night. The Slovaks took the lead after 15 minutes against the run of play, but the Czech Republic soon asserted themselves, and eventually won 4:1. Jan Koller got two, the first a perfect glancing header which left the Slovak keeper stranded. Koller's Dortmund teammate Tomas Rosicky also got a brace - including a sweet curling free-kick - thereby doubling his international goals tally to four. As is common in friendlies there were many substitutions; of the seven sent on by Czech coach Karel Bruekner, a hungry-looking Milan Baros was easily the most impressive, setting up two of his country's goals.

The Czechs' performance bodes well for their Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, which begins this autumn. They face the Netherlands, Belarus, Moldova, and Austria in Group 3.

Berger denies Celtic move but still considering his future at Liverpool

Despite recent reports that Czech midfielder Patrik Berger had signed a new contract with Liverpool, he has in fact not done so, and is considering his future. Berger - who has had injury problems in recent years - has been quick to quash speculation about a possible move to Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic, saying he would prefer to be based closer to the Czech Republic. Berger is undoubtedly one of the most talented Czech players of the last decade, and it was a blow to the national side when he retired from international football earlier this year at the age of 28, saying he wanted to concentrate on winning a place at Liverpool. Berger's countrymen Vladimir Smicer and Milan Baros are also struggling to find a place at the club.

Ice hockey coach Lener surprises even players themselves with selections

The recently appointed coach of the Czech ice hockey team Slavomir Lener has been recalling old hands to the national squad, ahead of a tournament in Zlin in September. Trinec captain Richard Kral and Sparta Prague goaltender Petr Briza were not in favour with either of the last two Czech coaches, and have been surprised to get the call from Lener so late in their careers. The 37-year-old Briza looks set to become the oldest Czech international hockey player of all time. He had not been part of the national squad since 1996, and described the call-up as a "new chance". As for Kral, he said he simply couldn't remember the last time he played for his country.

Tough draw for Czechs in US Open

The last tennis Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Open, gets underway next Monday, and the draw has not been too favourable for Czech players. The leading Czech men's player Jiri Novak has drawn Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands in the first round, two weeks after Krajicek beat him in Cincinnati. Jan Vacek got into the last 16 at Wimbledon this year, but will be hard pressed to repeat that success in New York, facing as he does Wayne Ferriera of South Africa in the opening round. Jiri Vanek also faces a daunting task - his first round opponent is 13th seed Roger Federer of Switzerland.