The weekend's sport had something of a Scandinavian flavour, with ice hockey's Karjala Cup in Helsinki and of course the Czech national football squad's first of two play-offs against Norway to qualify for next year's World Cup in Germany.
World Cup hopes alive after away win in Oslo
In these far from ideal conditions the Czechs looked the more confident of the two teams from the start. Vladimir Smicer's first half goal was a classic, a header from a right-wing cross from Karel Poborsky, set up by Pavel Nedved. It was just like the old days, a sparkling combination of three of the Czech Republic's vintage players - who, as Nedved jokingly pointed out after the game - have a combined age of over a hundred.
The Norwegians never recovered; the Czechs had several more chances in the second half, and never really seemed to by under real pressure. They now go into the home leg on Wednesday needing only a draw to qualify, but as Vladimir Smicer warned, they shouldn't rest on their laurels:
Before we leave Saturday's game it's worth pointing out that Pavel Nedved was the focus of a great deal of media attention. The former European footballer of the year was back in action, after retiring from international football last year, and he certainly gave trainer Karel Bruckner reason to be satisfied, with a performance that showed not only flair, but also his typical stubbornness and resilience under pressure.
Talented under-21s succumb to German precision
And staying with football, the Czech under-21s had less reason to celebrate. Despite playing some excellent football at home against Germany, in their play-off to qualify for the European Championships, the Czechs went down 2:0. Ironically, the Germans had far fewer chances, but were productive where it mattered. The two teams meet again on Tuesday in Leverkusen, and if Saturday's game is anything to go by it could certainly go either way.