The Czech ice hockey team finished third in the Channel One Cup on Sunday, after taking a 5:1 hiding from the hosts Russia. The competition followed the same pattern as the Karjala Cup in November, with the Czechs losing two games and winning two. The Czech Republic’s forwards have been praised for their performance in the second leg of the four competition Euro Hockey Tour, though with 14 goals conceded in Moscow questions have been asked about the country’s defence. The general consensus seems to be that even the best players from the Czech Extraliga do not have what it takes to succeed at international level.
The normally unflappable Petr Cech won’t have slept well on Sunday night, after a rare howler led to a 1:0 defeat for his club Chelsea at the hands of Arsenal. The Czech goalkeeper was completely at sixes and sevens when the Gunners whipped in a corner just before half-time, allowing William Gallas to head in the only goal of the much anticipated game. Cech’s international team-mate Tomas Rosicky, meanwhile, was in fine form for Arsenal, who continue to lead the Premier League and win plaudits for their attractive approach.
The Czech national team is now 6th in the rankings of world football’s governing body FIFA. The Czechs started 2007 in 10th place but climbed a few places during the year after finishing top of their group in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
The Czech club Slavia Prague has new owners. Or rather it has had new owners for a year but that fact has somehow only emerged now. What’s also strange is the fact it is not entirely clear who bought the club from ENIC, an English investment group which also owns Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. ENIC sold its stake in Slavia to a company called Key Investments, though it is regarded as a go-between for the real investors, with Czech newspapers unable to confirm who they are.
Slavia are reportedly hoping to entice midfielder Patrik Berger to rejoin the club he left in the mid 1990s. But they face competition from Sparta Prague, who he played for in his teens. Berger, who is 34, is currently at Aston Villa, though he has hardly played at all this season.
The Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek was for some time stepping out with the Slovak born former star Martina Hingis, with reports the two were planning to tie the knot. Now, however, there have been reports that Stepanek, who is 29, is set to marry another tennis player, the 18-year-old Czech women’s number one Nicole Vaidisova.
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