Sports News

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The Czech Republic's ice hockey start have got off to a winning start at the World Championships in Finland. The country's women's tennis team meanwhile have fallen victim to the power of the Williams sisters in the Fed Cup. Sparta Prague have gone further ahead in an exciting end to the Czech football season, Baros gets a brace for Liverpool and Arsenal are keen to sign Ostrava wunderkind Papadopulos.

Winning start for Czech Republic at ice hockey World Championships

Milan Hejduk, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic have got off to a great start at the ice hockey World Championships in Finland with a 5:2 win over Slovenia on Saturday. The Czechs achieved that convincing victory without several key players who had yet to arrive for the championships. Among the late arrivals were captain Robert Reichel and Milan Hejduk, the top goal-scorer in the NHL during the regular season. Hejduk said he was aware of the expectations of Czech hockey fans.

"I do feel a bit of responsibility, yes. I came to help our team to the best of my abilities and I hope we go as far as possible in the championships."

It is still not clear, however, if Hejduk will play in the next game versus Austria on Monday, or whether he will rest ahead of the tougher game against Finland on Wednesday.

Washout for Czech women's team in Fed Cup clash with United States

Klara Koukalova, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic's women's tennis team suffered a total wipe-out in their Fed Cup World Group first round tie against the United States at the weekend. The Czech Republic's best player, Daja Bedanova, was dispatched in just 48 minutes by Venus Williams in the opening match on Saturday. Iveta Benesova then put up more of a fight against Serena Williams, before losing 5-7 1-6. That losing pattern was repeated on Sunday with Serena beating Klara Koukalova, Venus defeating Benesova and - in the doubles - both Williams sisters dispatching Bedanova and Eva Birnerova. So a 5:0 drubbing for the Czech Republic by the world's number one and three players.

Sparta go further ahead in uninspiring title "race"

It looks like a dull and predictable end to the Czech football season, with Sparta Prague now seven points clear - what a contrast with last season's exciting finish. The only excitement in Sparta's uninspiring 2:0 home win over Hradec Kralove on Saturday was when Vladimir Labant came on at half time; the Slovak got a hero's welcome from Sparta's fans in his first game since his return after an unsuccessful stint at West Ham. Second-placed Slavia Prague meanwhile fell further behind by continuing their series of away draws at Liberec.

Sparta fined for racist behaviour of fans during Prague derby

Sparta have been fined 100,000 crowns by the Czech football association for the racist behaviour of their fans during a recent derby against Slavia. Sparta fans booed the black Brazilian striker Adauto and chanted anti-Semitic slogans during the game.

Baros takes advantage of start for Liverpool with two goals, three "assists"

Young Czech international Milan Baros took advantage of a place in Liverpool's starting line-up against West Brom on Saturday, scoring two goals and setting up three for Michael Owen. Manager Gerard Houllier afterwards described the two strikers' partnership as "brilliant".

Arsenal keen on Ostrava youngster

Arsenal meanwhile are reportedly very keen to sign Michal Papadopulos of Ostrava. The midfielder, who recently turned 18, had a trial at the club last week and apparently impressed manager Arsene Wenger so much he said he'd make a star of the youngster in a year. His father Tanasis Papadopulos played for Greek club Panathinaikos.

Captain Nedved out of Turkey friendly

And established star Pavel Nedved will miss the Czech Republic's home friendly against Turkey on Wednesday: his club Juventus have requested their players be allowed to rest, given their current hectic schedule.