Sports News

Iceland - Czech Republic, photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Loss to Iceland complicates Czech route to Euro 2016 – manager Pavel Vrba say two qualifiers in September will now be key; Under 21 Euros starting Wednesday will be biggest such event ever held in Czech Republic; canoeist Fuksa takes first Czech medal in Baku; and Veselý continues to lead in Diamond League javelin after New York win.

Iceland defeat complicates route to Euro 2016 for Czechs

Iceland - Czech Republic, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s route to next year’s soccer European Championship in France has become rather more complicated. After a perfect start to their qualifying campaign, the Czechs have stuttered in their last two outings, dropping two points against Latvia at home in March – and on Friday losing 2:1 to Iceland in Reykjavik.

Midfielder Bořek Dočkal opened the scoring on 55 minutes when he found the top left-hand corner of the net with a fantastic strike for his fourth goal of the qualifying phase. However, just over 20 minutes later the hosts had gone in front through Aron Gunnarsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.

Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech said afterwards that Dočkal’s goal had mainly spurred Iceland to up their game.

“Paradoxically the goal harmed us more than anything else. Because they started to play more simply and more aggressively – all of a sudden everything started to go their way. Unfortunately we didn’t stay strong long enough to resist their determination to equalise. The goal came too fast. They got back into the game very quickly and that made them more confident and comfortable.”

Pavel Vrba, photo: CTK
That result means the Czech Republic have slipped from first place in Group A, two points behind Iceland. Three points behind the Czechs in third are the Netherlands. Coach Pavel Vrba will therefore have plenty to think about this summer – but he has already identified the next brace of qualifiers as key to Czech chances.

“In view of the fact that we know both the Turks and the Dutch have won their games, the table doesn’t look as well as it could from our point of view. We have two matches in September, against Kazakhstan at home and Latvia away, and if we don’t play to our best things will be very complicated for us in the final phase. Because then we play Turkey and the Netherlands – so how we do in September will be key.”

Under 21 Euros to be biggest such event ever held in Czech Republic

Czech football fans are in for a major treat in the coming weeks, with the European Under 21 Championship due to take place in Prague, Olomouc and Uherské Hradiště. It is the biggest tournament of its kind ever held in this country. The Czech youngsters, nicknamed the Lion Cubs, will take on Denmark in the curtain raiser at the capital’s Eden stadium on Wednesday.

Fuksa bags silver for first Czech medal in Baku

Martin Fuksa, photo: CTK
Martin Fuksa became the first Czech to pick up a medal at the first ever European Games. Fuksa took silver in the Canoe Sprint Single 1000m in Baku on Monday. A few hours later the country took a second medal in Azerbaijan – silver for the Czech table tennis team.

Veselý comes first in javelin at New York Diamond League meeting

The Czech Republic’s Vítězslav Veselý came first in the javelin at a Diamond League meeting in New York on Saturday to strengthen his hold on top spot in the overall placings. Veselý, who was Diamond League overall winner in the discipline in 2012 and 2013, withdrew after a first throw of 83.62 metres; he has been suffering from a groin injury and wants to ensure he is fit for a next meeting in Lausanne in July.