12-02-2001

By Rob Cameron

Sport now and starting with tennis, seven-times Davis Cup winners Sweden squeezed past the Czech Republic 3-2 in their world group first round tie at the weekend, cementing their return to the elite division after a two-year absence. Thomas Johansson beat Jiri Novak 7-6 6-3 6-7 6-2 in Sunday's decisive second reverse singles to put Sweden into the quarter-finals. Earlier, the Czechs' Bohdan Ulihrach had squared the tie by thrashing world number five Magnus Norman in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 6-1. Ulihrach had also beaten Johansson in Friday's opening singles. "I don't remember if I have ever played this well. This must be my best match ever," he said. Meanwhile the captain of the Czech team, Jan Kukal, was proud of his squad and predicted success in the matches to come. "We have a great team and a bright future. Here we had a good chance to produce a big upset," he told Reuters.

Ice hockey

Staying in Sweden, but turning to ice hockey: the Czechs may be the world champions, but there was little satisfaction at the Swedish Games tournament in Stockholm. The Czech team beat Sweden 2:1 in their final match, but ended up at the bottom of the table on points.

Football

And a quick look at football: eight months after Euro 2000, and Italian referee Pierluigi Collina is still making headlines in the Czech press: Collina awarded a controversial penalty against the Czechs in the dying minutes of their crucial first match against the Netherlands, which resulted in a fatal 1:0 defeat for the Czech team. And, as the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes puts it, he remains the most hated foreigner in the country. But in an exclusive interview for the paper, Collina says he has nothing personal against the Czech people, and still maintains he made the right decision.

Emotions were running high at Saturday's general session of the Bohemian and Moravian Football Association. No sooner had the delegates taken their seats when Karvina's Jiri Ryba put forward a motion to discuss the dismissal of Association Chairman Frantisek Chvalovsky, currently being investigated on fraud charges. The motion was promptly rejected. "Anyone thinking this would be a general session on Frantisek Chvalovsky has been disappointed," Chvalovsky told reporters after the session. The Association Chairman faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.

And there was more disappointment for the Bundesliga's most expensive player, the young Czech, Tomas Rosicky, after his club Borussia Dortmund drew 0:0 at home to Bremen. It was Rosicky's first home match for Borussia, another disappointment following last week's 1-0 away defeat at the hands of 1860 Munich.

12-02-2001