04-06-2001

By Nick Carey

Yes, it's time for the sports roundup now, and it must be said that the past few days have been as gloomy as the weather in the Czech Republic in international sports, with bad news on almost every front.

We'll kick off with football, and the World Cup qualifying match on Saturday that pitted the Czechs against Denmark. On Saturday morning things looked pretty good for the Czechs, as they topped Group Three, one point ahead of Bulgaria and two ahead of the Danes. In the other group match on Saturday, Bulgaria beat Northern Ireland 1-0, putting them two points ahead of the Czechs, leaving the Czech team in little doubt that they needed to win in Copenhagen.

The game got off to a poor start for the Czechs, as Denmark took the lead after only six minutes with a header from Ebbe Sand and things looked grim until Roman Tyce slammed in an impressive equaliser five minutes before half time.

The second half again saw the Danes dominating play, with the Czechs on the defensive, and in the end the Danish pressure was too much for the Czechs and a late goal from Jon Dahl Tomasson in the 82nd minute made it 2-1. In the dying minutes of the game the Czechs tried to level the score, but without success. A loss then for the Czechs and one that seriously damages their chances of playing in the World Cup, as the Danes are now in second place in the group, and the Czechs have dropped to third place, one point behind Denmark, and two behind Bulgaria. They still have four games to play, but so does every other team in the group, so what they need now is to win all four matches, and hope that Bulgaria and Denmark slip up somewhere along the way.

Tennis now, and it was bad news and more bad news for the Czech players competing in the French Open on Friday. In the third round of the women's singles tournament, Denisa Chladkova succumbed after a struggle to Lina Krasnoroutskaya of Russia 6-1 2-6 6-1, and Daja Bedanova was knocked out by Italy's Silvia Farinaelia 7-5 7-6.

In the third round of the men's singles tournament things looked just as grim, as Bohdan Ulihrach was beaten 6-2 6-2 6-2 by Tommy Robredo of Spain and Jiri Novak was defeated by Sweden's Thomas Enqvist 6-2 6-3 6-7 2-6 8-6. So, out of the four Czech players that advanced to the third round of the French Open, not a single one remains. C'est la vie, n'est pas, but at least the Czechs can look forward to Wimbledon and playing on grass instead of clay.

04-06-2001