In Sports News this Monday: Footballers assemble ahead of Euro 2016 – Vrba looks forward to rare period of prolonged training; champions Plzeň to replace boss Krejčí with Pivarník; Hradec Králové and Karviná win promotion; Czech swimmers leave London empty-handed; and Šafářová and Kvitová advance to second round at Roland Garros.
The Czech Republic’s footballers assembled on Monday to begin their preparations for the European Championship, which kicks off in France on June 10. Pavel Vrba’s men will play three warm-up games between now and then – versus Malta on Friday and against Russia and South Korea next week. But above all the national team manager says he appreciates the rare chance of some intensive training.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had the team together for three weeks. For me it’s something very different from meeting on Monday and then breaking up again on Thursday after a game. In that regard it will be a very positive time and, I hope, a time that will really help us a lot. I’m looking forward to it a lot.”
Thirteen of Vrba’s draft 25-man squad were in Poland for Euro 2012 and the group are set to be older than their Group D opponents Spain, Croatia and Turkey. The coach could have brought down the age average by including, for instance, 18-year-old Václav Černý, who has begun making an impact at Dutch club Ajax. But Vrba says the midfielder is not ready.
“Of course we all know that he’s very promising – he’s really interesting. On the other hand, I don’t think he has enough experience of senior football to go straight to the European Championship.”
Czech league champions Viktoria Plzeň have moved quickly to replace Karel Krejčí, who has left to focus on his post as assistant to national team boss Vrba. According to press reports, the man overseeing Plzeň’s campaign for a third title in succession will be Roman Pivarník, a 49-year-old Slovak who has up to now been in charge at Prague club Bohemians 1905.
Among the clubs Pivarník’s Plzeň will be facing next term are Hradec Králové and Karviná, both of which secured promotion from the second tier at the weekend. Hradec Králové bounce straight back to the top flight after a one-season absence.
The Czech Republic’s swimmers left the European Aquatics Championships in London empty-handed. Closest to success were the women’s relay team, who finished fourth in Sunday’s final, 1:24 seconds off the medals. Czech team member Simona Baumrtová blamed herself for the result.
“I’m really sorry about it because I lost the relay. Apart from the 200 metres, nothing really went well for me here. I’ll have to think about where it went wrong. Compared to the other girls, my performance was definitely poorer.”
Last year’s finalist Lucie Šafářová got off to a winning start at the French Open. The 11th seed comfortably dispatched Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0, 6-2 on Sunday. Meanwhile Šafářová’s compatriot Petra Kvitová had a first-round scare but eventually beat Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to advance in Paris.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’