Sports News

Czech Republic - Slovenia, photo: CTK

In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s footballers come in for some criticism after a toothless performance in a 0:0 draw away to Slovenia in a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup – but a win over Slovakia on Wednesday could see them make headway in an open group; Tomáš Verner comes fourth in the World Figure Skating Championships, after changing his approach to free skating; and Slavia Prague again face Karlovy Vary in the finals of the playoffs of ice hockey’s Extraliga.

Czechs draw 0:0 away to Slovenia in dull World Cup qualifier

Czech Republic - Slovenia,  photo: CTK
The Czech Republic’s footballers, and coach Petr Rada, have come in for some criticism after a rather toothless performance in a 0:0 draw away to Slovenia on Saturday night in a qualifier for the 2010 World Cup. That result means that at the half-way stage in their campaign to reach South Africa the Czechs have taken just eight points in five games. What’s more, they’ve only scored five goals, three of which came against San Marino. Winger Libor Sionko was rather deflated after Saturday’s game in Maribor:

“From my point of view neither team deserved to win, because they didn’t create any real chances. We hit the post, but otherwise that was it. Tonight’s football was played between one penalty area and the other, but what makes football interesting is shots, chances – and play inside the penalty area is what the game was lacking.”

The good news for the Czech Republic’s footballers is that their group – currently led by Northern Ireland, who have played the most games – is relatively open. The Czechs will be hoping to climb above third in Group 3 with a win over Slovakia in Prague on Wednesday. However, they will have to make do in that match without captain Tomáš Ujfaluši and Radek Šírl, who both picked up knocks in Slovenia.

Verner comes fourth in World Figure Skating Championships after changing approach to free skating

Tomáš Verner,  photo: CTK
Tomáš Verner came fourth in the World Figure Skating Championships in Los Angeles at the end of last week. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old from Písek will perhaps not have been too disappointed at missing out on a place on the podium, after evidently overcoming some kind of mental block which had led him to mess up in the free skating, the second of two disciplines, at both the last World Championships and the European Championships earlier this year. Tomáš Verner:

“It was definitely in my head. After the European Championships I changed a couple of things and now they’ve been proven to be changes for the better. I’m going to keep going that way as I prepare for the Olympics. Of course I’m not going to reveal exactly what I’ve done, everyone has identify his own weakness and work on it himself. I hope things only keep improving from now on.”

Slavia face Karlovy Vary again in Extraliga playoffs final series

Slavia - Plzeň,  photo: CTK
Staying on the ice, the final series in the playoffs of hockey’s Extraliga is a repeat of last year, with title-holders Slavia Prague again taking on Karlovy Vary. Slavia beat Plzeň 4:1 on games to reach the finals, while Karlovy Vary took one more game to overcome Sparta Prague in their best-of-seven series. The finals begin in Karlovy Vary on Friday.