Sports News

Photo: CTK
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In Sport News this week: Czech footballers suffer a setback in their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a defeat at home to Germany; Ice hockey's Extraliga champions Sparta Prague edge closer to a second successive final, and cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova finally calls time on a glittering career.

Czech footballers surprised at home by Germany

Photo: CTK
Starting with football and the Czech international side suffered a setback on Saturday when they lost at home 2-1 to Germany in a Euro 2008 qualifying match. Two headed goals by Kevin Kuranyi either side of half time were enough to give the Germans all three points despite a late goal by Milan Baros. The result leaves the Czechs three points behind the Germans at the top of their qualifying group, level with Ireland but with a game in hand.

Speaking after the match, the Czech Republic's AC Milan defender Marek Jankulovski said that they had lost to the better team on the night:

Photo: CTK
"Unfortunately, we gave away a goal at a corner and the second one also came from a cross. So obviously we were deficient in that area. It's a pity because we wanted a good result in this match but we can't do anything about it now. The Germans were simply better. We now have to look to Wednesday's match to get three points, which is very important."

The Czech Republic will pay Cyprus on Wednesday in what is now a must-win game.

Sparta edge closer to final of ice hockey's Extraliga

Sparta - Liberec, photo: CTK
Ice hockey now and Extraliga holders Sparta Prague moved a step closer to this year's final at the weekend when they beat the best team in the league phase Liberec 5-2 to move into a 3-1 lead in their best of seven semi-final series. In the other semi-final, Ceske Budejovice clawed their way back into contention by beating Pardubice 3-0. This leaves the series finely poised with Pardubice holding a slim 2-1 lead.

Vaidisova through to last eight of Miami Open

Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidisova progressed to the last sixteen of the Miami Open on Sunday. The seventeen-year-old who is now ranked eighth in the world beat the Belarussian Victoria Azarenka in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. Vaidisova may be joined in the next round by her compatriot Lucie Safarova who has a tough match with Australian Open champion Serena Williams on Monday morning.

Neumannova calls time on glittering career

Katerina Neumannova, photo: CTK
Czech cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova - who won two world championships and an Olympic gold medal in a glittering career - has skied in her last race. The thirty-four year old finished second to her great Norwegian rival Marit Bjorgen in Saturday's skiathlon World Cup in Falun, Sweden. After the event, Neumannova was pleased that she finished her career competing for top spot.

Katerina Neumannova, photo: CTK
"I'm extremely satisfied because the last two weekends weren't very good. I was little bit out of form and today the surface was wet, which I don't like. So I expected a pretty average result, but I actually skied well. Unfortunately, Marit didn't give me anything at the end. When she's in form, she's very hard to beat at the finish. She was better than me, but otherwise I'm pretty satisfied. I was pretty comfortable for long periods in the race and strong in the hills but got second place. I just hope I don't stay in second place for the rest of my life."

Katerina Neumannova is now set to embark on a new career as a TV-show host.