Sports News

Czech Martin Straka fights with German Robert Leask, photo: CTK

In Sports News: the Ice Hockey World Cup came to Prague last Friday and the Czechs got their first win of the tournament - we talk to Czech stars Jaromir Jagr and Petr Sykora about the team's chances of going further in the tournament; in football, the Czech midfield is in disarray ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Holland; and Czech tennis has a new hero in Tomas Berdych, who has reached the last 16 at the US Open.

Czechs to face Sweden in quarter-finals at Ice Hockey World Cup

Jaromir Jagr,  photo: CTK
After two disappointing losses to Finland and Sweden the Czech Republic trounced Germany 7-2 on Friday night at the Sazka Arena in Prague. After a slow first period the flood-gates opened in the second and the Czech's scored three quick goals in less than three minutes leaving the German team in disarray.

The crowed went ballistic when number 68, Jaromir Jagr, scored the third goal of the game. Jagr cut through the German defence like butter after receiving a long pass from from teamate Vaclav Prospal. I caught-up with the star forward after the game and began by asking him why the Czech Republic had problems in the first two games of the tournament:

"I don't think we played bad against Sweden, against the Finns we played very bad. We didn't have a chance, they were skating a lot faster then us, but against Sweden I though we played very well. But bad discipline from our side, too many penalties, three shorthanded goals killed us. But overall, five against five, I though we played very well."

How do you see your chances in the future and who do you think is going to be the toughest team to beat?

Czech Martin Straka fights with German Robert Leask,  photo: CTK
"It's going to be tough. We played both teams and we lost to both of them, we have to learn from our mistakes from the first two games but it's tough to pick. I think it doesn't matter, who ever we are going to face its going to be tough to win."

Petr Sykora who plays right-wing for the NHL's Anaheim Mighty Ducks assisted Jiri Slegr's goal in the second period. He is a little more optimistic about the Czech Republic's chances in the up-coming game:

"Right now we have the momentum going, both Finland and Sweeden played very well against us they are also going to be playing at home. Me personally I would rather play against Sweden because the play more offensive hockey than Finland. On Wednesday [against Sweden] in the third period we felt that we were the only team on the ice so for me personally I want to play Sweden and we will see."

The Czechs placed third in their group which means they will travel to Sweden on Tuesday for their quarter-final.

Czech midfield in disarray ahead of first World Cup qualifer

The Czech football team have been hit by injuries ahead of their first World Cup qualifier, which is away to the Netherlands on Wednesday night. With midfielders Pavel Nedved, Tomas Galasek and Vladimir Smicer already ruled out, Karel Poborsky became the latest casualty when he sustained a back injury last week. The four midfielders are among the Czech Republic's most experienced players, and coach Karel Brucker, wily tactician though he may be, will have great difficulty putting together a decent midfield for the Holland game. Bruckner was not a happy man on Friday evening, when the national team lost 1:0 in a warm-up game against Mlada Boleslav.

Berdych reaches last 16 at US Open

Tomas Berdych,  photo: CTK
Czech tennis has a new hero: Tomas Berdych stunned the tennis world with a win over world number one Roger Federer at the Olympics, and has now reached the last 16 at the US Open. The unseeded Berdych - still only 18 - beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in five sets on Sunday to set up a tie with Tommy Haas of Germany for a place in the quarterfinals. Another little-known Czech, Michal Tabara, reached the third round at Flushing Meadows, only to be beaten by Britain's Tim Henman, while Czech number one Jiri Novak lost to Andre Agassi of the USA.

Great start for Valenta

Ales Valenta - who shot to fame in the Czech Republic after taking gold at the last Winter Olympics - has got off to a great start this season, winning the first freestyle aerial skiing World Cup event of the year at Mt Buller, Australia. Valenta's win puts him on top of the World Cup rankings for the first time in his career. The 31-year-old was in fine spirits after his weekend win, saying that - like good wine - he improves with age.