Sports News

Photo: CTK

In Sports News: the Czech Republic lose in the final of the Under-20 World Cup, though they certainly will not be returning home in disgrace; tennis ace Radek Stepanek completes his comeback from injury with a win in the Los Angeles Classic - only the second title of his career; climber Libor Uher becomes only the second Czech to conquer K2; ice hockey star Petr Nedved leaves the NHL after 15 years for Sparta Prague; and is footballer Radoslav Kovac bound for the big league and Inter Milan?

Czechs lose Under-20 World Cup final with heads held high

Photo: CTK
As one headline here put it, the miracle didn't happen. The Czech Republic's dreams of taking home the Under 20 World Cup came crashing down in Toronto on Sunday, when the Czech juniors lost to Argentina, who took the trophy for the sixth time. But the young Czechs certainly do not leave Canada in disgrace; for much of the game they held their own against the favourites, and had the best chance of the first half flash off an upright. They might even have pulled off an upset, when they went 1:0 in front in the 60th minute through an absolutely stunning goal by striker Martin Fenin.

But that lead was to last just two minutes, when the Argentineans exploited a large hole in the Czech defence. Five minutes from full-time they found another chink in the Czech Republic's armour to make it 2:1, and it was all over bar the Argentinean celebrations.

Photo: CTK
Czech forward Marek Strestik said watching the winners rejoicing was no fun.

"It was terrible. I was imagining us there celebrating. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. Maybe tomorrow or the next day I'll come to terms with it and it'll be better. We had been in front...I think they had a few problems in the first half - we should have capitalised by scoring...It's a pity but we have to hold our heads up - life goes on."

Strestik and his team-mates shouldn't feel too sorry for themselves; few would have predicted before the Under 20 World Cup that the Czech Republic would have gone as far as they did. Another headline on Monday read, Silver fairytale.

Stepanek back in style with only second ATP title of career

Radek Stepanek,  photo: CTK
Tennis player Radek Stepanek has taken only the second ATP title of his career, the Los Angeles Classic. The former world number eight overcame second seed James Blake 7-6 5-7 6-2 to take the trophy. Sunday's success marks a significant upturn in the Czech's fortunes after a six-month absence due to a back injury. Stepanek, who is 28, said winning was a beautiful feeling - for some time he had wondered if he would ever play tennis again.

Uher becomes only second Czech climber to conquer K2

Libor Uher has become just the second Czech climber ever to reach the peak of K2, the world's second highest mountain and perhaps the most treacherous. He was following in the footholds of Josef Rakoncaj, who conquered K2 in 1983 and again in 1986.

Nedved joins Sparta after decade and half in NHL

Petr Nedved,  photo: CTK
Ice hockey star Petr Nedved is coming home after 15 years in the NHL. Nedved, who was less than 20 appearances short of his 1000th NHL game, has signed a one-year deal with Sparta Prague. The 35-year-old winger is the second most productive Czech ever in the history of the NHL and played for seven clubs over a 15-year period.

Defender Kovac to join Italian champions Inter Milan?

Footballer Radoslav Kovac could be about the step up to the big league. Italian champions Inter Milan are said to be close to signing the Czech international defender from Spartak Moscow, with news on a possible deal expected in the next few days.