Sports News

Foto: ČTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Czech footballers fail in a friendly against Norway while at home, action continues in Gambrinus Liga; two Czech riders see mixed luck at motorcycle Grand Prix in Brno; Czech cross country rider wins 2011 World Cup; and three-time hockey world champion Oldřich Machač dies aged 65.

Czechs fail in Norway friendly

Norway - Czech Republic, photo: CTK
Some three weeks ahead of a crucial European championship qualifier against Scotland, the Czech national football team travelled to Norway for a friendly. But the game ended in a disaster for the Czechs who lost 3:0, equalling the worst result in the team’s history. The Czechs only came close to scoring once, and their defence was leaky. Goalkeeper Petr Čech only saw one positive feature of the game.

“I think we can sum it up quite simply: nothing worked. The only positive thing about the game was the fact that it wasn’t part of the EURO 2012 qualification. Everything else – the style of play we wanted to show, what we prepared for, just did not happen. It was one of those games when you get ready and it unfortunately turns out into the complete opposite.”

Michal Bílek, photo: CTK
Despite ranking second in the I EURO 2012 qualifying group, six points behind Spain and five points ahead of Scotland and Lithuania, the Czechs have had a streak of poor games over the past year or so. The pressure is mounting on head coach Michal Bílek to step down but after the game in Norway, the coach said he had no intention to do so.

“My task is to advance to the European championship. When you look at our qualifying group, we are in the second place, ahead of our biggest rivals Scotland and Lithuania. We never really failed any of the qualifying games, which is why I’m not considering stepping down.”

In Gambrinus Liga, great start for Sparta Prague

Viktoria Plzeň - Teplice, photo: CTK
Staying with football, the third round of the Czech top division finally saw a win by last season’s champions Viktoria Plzeň. After a home draw and an away loss, the Czech titleholders beat Teplice 2:0 on Friday with strikes by Václav Pilař and Michal Ďuriš, moving up to 8th place. Last year’s runners-up Sparta Prague had a much better start, with three wins in the first three rounds, and are now in the lead, two points ahead of Liberec in the second place.

Among the three newcomers, Hradec Králové has been doing best so far, ranking 6th with two wins and one loss. The biggest disappointment so far has been one of the most popular Czech clubs, Baník Ostrava, who is last with zero points and 11 conceded goals after the first three rounds of the top Czech football league. However, to fight their way up the league table, Baník signed their former striker Václav Svěrkoš who comes back after a poor stint with the French club Socheaux and Greece’s Panathinaikos.

125 ccm rider Kornfeil finishes 7th at Brno Grand Prix

Jakub Kornfeil, photo: CTK
Turning to motorcycle racing, the Czech Republic hosted the Grand Prix at the Masaryk Circuit in Brno over the past weekend, with two Czech riders taking part. Practice results of Karel Abraham in the Moto GP and Jakub Kornfeil in 125 ccm did not suggest they could please the crowd in Sunday’s race. But Jakub Kornfeil showed a great performance and moved up from 20th position on the grid to seventh place, equalling his best result in the season. After the race, Jakub Kornfeil said he thought he could have done even better.

“The race was decided in the 4th lap. There was a group of riders competing for second place and I wanted to join them. One of the riders dropped out, I passed him and we started fighting. But that delayed us and I could not catch up with the group ahead of us.”

In the Moto GP category, Karel Abraham was last on the grid but had a great start and passed two other riders. However, he fell in the fifth lap, and although he managed to come back in the race, but his bike failed him eight laps later and the Czech did not finish. In overall standings, both Czechs rank 12th in their respective categories.

Cross country biker Jaroslav Kulhavý wins World Cup series

Jaroslav Kulhavý, photo: CTK
In cycling, Czech cross country biker Jaroslav Kulhavý scored another great success. After winning the European title last weekend, he took his fourth World Cup win in Nové Město na Moravě on Sunday, and secured the overall title. In front of a home crowd of supporters, Kulhavý was in the lead from the start and finished first, 45 seconds ahead of the Swiss rider Nino Schurter. After the race, the Czech champion told Czech Radio just how much he valued his triumph.

“It’s the biggest success for me so far; the competition takes place throughout the season which means you can’t do poorly in any of the races. There is no room for mistakes. That’s why I really appreciate it; four wins is something amazing.”

Hockey legend Oldřich Machač dies aged 65

Oldřich Machač in 1970, photo: CTK
And finally, some sad news came from Brno on Wednesday where the three-time hockey world champion and three-time Olympic medallist Oldřich Machač died at the age of 65. The legendary defenseman spent most of his career in the club that is now Kometa Brno where he played between 1967 and 1978; he later moved for four seasons to the West German club Star Bulls Rosenheim. In 1972, he was selected into the World Championship’s All Star team, and was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame in 1999.