Sports News

Michal Bílek, photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Michal Bílek loses his first game as Czech international football coach after fielding a young side against the UAE; Pavel Nedvěd will take a coaching role at Juventus, according to an Italian newspaper; and Radek Štěpánek climbs to 12th in the world rankings after reaching the semi-finals in Paris.

Czechs lose first football international under new boss Bílek

Michal Bílek, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s footballers played their first game under new manager Michal Bílek on Sunday, when they took on the United Arab Emirates in a mini-tournament in the Gulf state. Bílek didn’t call up the likes of Petr Čech and Tomáš Rosický, preferring to give a chance to younger, less experienced players. And his debut at the helm was none too successful, as the Czechs ended up losing on penalties after a score-less draw against the UAE. Among those who failed to convert in the shootout was captain David Rozehnal, who spoke to Czech Television immediately after the game.

“The main thing is the guys are young and most of them are getting their first starts. It was to be expected that we didn’t have a particularly great understanding today. On the other hand, I don’t think it was bad, but we should perform100 percent better in the future. That’s why we’re playing these two friendlies, so that the young guys can get started, and obviously so it’ll be better in the future.”

Manager Michal Bílek said nerves played a role in Sunday’s defeat.

Czech Republic’s team training (David Rozehnal on the left), photo: CTK
“It was logical that some players would have been nervous, as they were playing for the first time or had just a few caps. We expected that they wouldn’t gel that well. We’re curious now how they cope with the situation. The result was important because it could have given us confidence, but at this moment the main thing is to see the players in action, and then evaluate everything.”

The Czech Republic take on Azerbaijan on Wednesday. Their next game after that is another friendly, against Argentina in the middle of December, though no venue has yet been set.

Nedvěd to take coaching role at Juventus, says daily

In other football news, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport has reported that former Czech captain Pavel Nedvěd will take up a coaching role at Juventus next year. The daily said Nedvěd, who is 37, would first train youngsters at his former club, before joining the senior coaching staff at Juve next season.

Štěpánek now 12th in world after reaching last four in Paris

Radek Štěpánek, photo: CTK
The Czech men’s tennis number one Radek Štěpánek has climbed to 12th in the world rankings, after reaching the semi-finals of the Paris Masters on Saturday. The Czech lost 4-6 7-5 4-6 to local favourite Gael Monfils in a tight encounter. Štěpánek is now at his home in Florida training for the Davis Cup final, in which the Czech Republic will take on Spain in Barcelona in three weeks’ time.