The Czech national team scored an obligatory victory over San Marino on Saturday in the Euro 2008 qualification. After beating their opponent 3:0 with goals by Rosicky, Jankulovski and Koller, the Czechs took three points which leaves them second in the D qualifying group, five points behind Germany and three points ahead of Ireland in third place. Marek Jankulovski, who set the score to 2:0 in the 75th minute, told Czech TV that matches against outsiders are never easy.
"We knew that San Marino at home are tough. It was a question of time before we got our first goal but even then we spoiled some opportunities. But in the end we scored three goals, and we are happy."
In spite of the result, the performance of the Czech team lagged behind expectations. In the first half, it took the Czech line-up more than half an hour to achieve the first goal, while the San Marino team, currently at 195th place in the FIFA ranking, also had some good opportunities. Moreover Jan Koller, who scored his 50th goal for the national team, was booked in San Marino which disqualifies him for the crucial match against Ireland in Prague on Wednesday.
In ice-hockey, the Czech O2 Extraliga kicks off this week with the opening game between Slavia Prague and HC Mountfield of Ceske Budejovice in Prague on Wednesday. Last year's champion Sparta Prague can rely on the services of goalkeeper Tomas Duba, who underwent shoulder surgery during the summer break. Also, Petr Nedved, formerly of Edmonton Oilers, has joined Sparta that will again aspire to gain the title. Other favourites of this year's top Czech ice-hockey competition are Slavia, with the home-comer Radek Duda, Liberec and Pardubice which won the Tipsport Hockey Cup last week beating Karlovy Vary 3:2. Vsetin, which ended last in the previous season, and will not participate in any category due to financial problems, is replaced by Lions of Usti nad Labem, the winner of last year's first division.
Meanwhile, Dominik Hasek has been getting ready for his 16th season in the NHL before he took off on Sunday to join his club the Detroit Red Wings at training camp. After a week of training sessions in Pisek, South Bohemia with his personal coach, Dominik Hasek says he is looking for ward to yet another season overseas. The main thing is to survive the camp, the Stanley Cup winner and Olympic champion said.
In swimming, Czech long-distance swimmer Yvetta Hlavacova failed on Saturday in an attempt to break the record for swimming across the English Channel held by Bulgaria's Petar Stoichev. After setting off from Dover, she reached the French coast 7 hours and 53 minutes later, which was almost an hour longer than Stoichev's record.
And in the world of athletics, Jamaican Marlene Ottey, who is 47, took part in the Czech athletic extraliga on Saturday, appearing for ACP Brno. The athlete, now representing Slovenia after a clash with the Jamaican athletics federation, started in the 100 m distance and was only beaten by Katerina Cechova. Ms Ottey, who has three silver Olympic medals and three golds from world championships, says she will try to get to the Olympics in Beijing next year.
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