Sports News

Czech - Estonia, photo: CTK

The Czech national football team to face Latvia, Germany and the Netherlands in 'Group D' at European championship, Euro 2004; Czech cyclist Jan Hruska takes third in Tour of Germany; and Liberec to host 2009 Nordic skiiing championship.

Czech national football team gearing up for Euro 2004

Czech - Estonia,  photo: CTK
Notching up a win over Estonia in their last warm-up game ahead of Euro 2004, the European football Championship, by all reports the Czech national team appears upbeat and confident as they head to Portugal, which is hosting the games.

The Czech team failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, but is looking strong this year, having only lost two of the last 24 contests, including friendlies.

Playing at home on Sunday in the Czech town of Teplice, the Czech team beat Estonia 2-0, with a pair of early goals by striker Milan Baros. Baros, who plays for Liverpool during the regular season, scored his first goal in the sixth minute of the weekend warm-up match off a pass from midfielder Tomas Rosicky, and then added another in the 22nd minute.

Jan Hruska,  photo: CTK
On Wednesday, the Czech Republic hammered fellow qualifier Bulgaria, 3 to 1.

The Czechs will play their opening match of the European Championshiop against Lativa in Aveiro on Tuesday, the 15th of June. Latvia, who are through to their first-ever major tournament and were a surprise Euro 2004 qualifier, are not expected to pose much of a challenge for the more experienced Czech team.

However, the Czech Republic will face tough competition from Germany and the Netherlands in the Group D round.

Hruska takes third in Tour of Germany cycling race

In cycling news, Patrick Sinkewitz won the Tour of Germany in his home country on Sunday, with an overall time of 26 hours, 17 minutes, and 12 seconds. He beat Jens Voigt of Germany by 18 seconds while Jan Hruska of the Czech Republic was third, 23 seconds back.

Liberec to host 2009 Nordic skiing world championship

And, finally, the north Bohemian town of Liberec has been chosen to host the world championship in Nordic skiing in 2009. The boad of the International Ski Federation — meeting in sunny Miami, Florida of all places — chose the Czech town by a vote of 11:4 over its lone rival, Olso, the capital of Norway.

Liberec has thrice been in the running to host the world championship; it lost out on that honour to Val de Fiemme, Italy for last year's event; to Oberstdorf, Germany in 2005; and to Sapporo, Japan, which will host the premier championship for Nordic skiing in 2007.

The chairman of the Czech Skiiing Federation, Roman Kumpost, told the Czech news agency CTK it was "an enormous relief" to have been finally chosen while other officials and athletes said hosting the championship would likely inspire a new generation of Czech skiers.