Czechs keeps hope alive at U21 Euros after Kliment hat-trick delivers win over Serbia
The hosts got off to a disappointing start at football’s European Under 21 Championship here in the Czech Republic. After taking the lead in Wednesday’s curtain raiser against Denmark, the Czechs really went off the boil in the second half and eventually lost 2:1. However, the “lion cubs” responded in style in their second group game on Saturday, overcoming Serbia by a resounding 4:0. The victory was most notable for the performance of Jan Kliment; he has only scored three goals in 30 appearances for Jihlava but got a hat-trick in just 56 minutes against the Serbs at Prague’s Letná stadium.
“It’s crazy. Just a month ago I had no idea I’d even be here. I was looking forward to going on holiday. But then I got called up. I hope I’ve repaid the coach’s faith in me. I enjoyed the match so much. The fans were great and the stadium was close to sold-out. Maybe the atmosphere was better than at Eden [venue for Denmark game], which is bigger. It’s super.”
Despite making such a splash, Kliment, who turns 22 in September, says it is too early to consider a possible move from Jihlava to a bigger club – and that there is still much work to do for the Czech Republic.“I can’t think about that at all right now. Of course it’s pleasant – I’ve shown what I can do on the European stage. It’s in my mind. But I will discuss it with my agent after the Championship… We can’t get carried away after one good game. We have Germany in front of us – then we’ll have a reason to celebrate. Then maybe more and more reasons.”
The hosts need a win against the fancied Germany on Tuesday to be sure of progressing to the semi-finals; a draw would mean they would need Serbia to defeat the Danes. The bad news is that the Czech Republic will be without Václav Kadlec for that encounter. The Sparta Prague striker had to be withdrawn after half an hour in the Serbia match with an ankle injury and will be out for around a month.
Plíšková misses out on top 10 place after defeat in Birmingham final
The Czech Republic’s Karolína Plíšková lost to Angelique Kerber in the final of tennis’s Birmingham Open on Sunday. The 23-year-old survived four set points to win out in the first set but eventually lost 7-6 3-6 6-7 to the German. The defeat cost Plíšková what would have been her first appearance in the world top 10. However, the Czech’s move up to 11th in the rankings still leaves her at the highest point in her career to date.
Czech women basketball team miss Olympics after Euros last-16 exit
The Czech women’s team have been left bitterly disappointed after exiting the European Championships in Hungary’s Debrecen at the last-16 stage. The Czechs needed to beat Turkey on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals but were left packing their bags when the game ended 48:59. The result also means they will not feature in the women’s basketball competition at next year’s Olympics in Rio.