In Sports news this week: the Czech women’s tennis team beats Germany to reach the Fed Cup semi-finals; in football, Czechs will face title holders Spain in the next European 2012 championship qualifications; goalie Petr Čech contributes to Chelsea’s win over city rival Arsenal; and hockey star Jaromír Jágr returns from Russia fit for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The Czech Republic’s footballers will face title holders Spain, Scotland, Lithuania and Lichtenstein in the qualifying stages of the next European Championship in 2012. The Czech coach Michal Bílek had said he hoped to avoid the Spaniards in Sunday’s draw in Warsaw. The winners of each group will automatically for Euro 2012, which is being held in Poland and Ukraine, along with the team that comes second with the best results; the other four berths will be decided by playoffs. Qualification for the tournament begins this autumn after the World Cup in South Africa, which the Czechs failed to reach.
The football associations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are holding discussions over the possibility of setting up a joint league, which would recreate the situation before the two countries split in 1993. The idea was first put forward by the Slovak FA, the newspaper Sport reported. The deputy chairman of the Czech FA Miroslav Kříž said after talks in Bratislava that the matter was in its early stages and its very feasibility was currently being examined. European football’s governing body UEFA has never agreed to the establishment of a joint league in two countries, and there have been suggestions in the Czech media that it would be unlikely to make an exception in this case.
The former Czech international Marek Jankulovski could leave Italian giants AC Milan for Baník Ostrava during the summer, the newspaper Sport reported. The 32-year-old, who plays at both left back and on the wing, started his career at the Czech club. His agent told Sport that the move depended on whether Milan wanted to keep the player on their books next season. Jankulovski joined the club in 2005 and was part of the team that won the Champions League in 2007.
The Czech Republic’s international football squad may take part in a tournament in the USA next year that would also involve Turkey, the president of the country’s football association, Ivan Hašek, told journalists on Wednesday. Negotiations are underway regarding the tournament, which would take place in the second half of May. The Czechs also have friendlies lined up against Scotland in March and Morocco in August.
Pavlína Ščasná is one of the greatest Czech women’s soccer players ever. She took up the sport as a child when her father, coach Zdeněk Ščasný, was managing a club in Cyprus and her older brother needed somebody to play against. Ščasná played football with boys until she was 14, before only two years later being named Czech player of the year for the first of five times. Now 27, she is soon set to play alongside the Brazilian star Marta at Los Angeles Sol, after what has been described as the biggest transfer in the history of Czech women’s
Czech midfielder Lukas Mareček is transferring from Czech League´s Brno to Anderlecht Brussels, raising the number of Czechs in the team to four, Pavel Zika from the Sport Invest company told CTK news agency. He said the transfer would be definitively sealed next week when Mareček, 19, undergoes health tests. The three Czechs whom Mareček will join in Anderlecht Brussels are goalie Daniel Zitka, who has been playing for the club for eight years, midfielder Jan Polák, who has been with Anderlecht for three years and is expected to return to the pitch after a knee surgery he underwent last autumn, and defender Ondřej Mazuch, Mareček´s fellow player in the Czech under 21 team.
Sparta Prague said on Thursday they had signed former player Libor Sionko on a two-and-a-half-year contract from FC Copenhagen. Winger Sionko, who is 32, notched up nine goals in 39 appearances for the national side. He returned to his former team only a day after finishing his contract with Copenhagen.
Czech midfielder Jiří Jarošík has signed an 18-month contract with Spanish top-flight side Real Zaragoza it was revealed on Thursday. Capped 23 times for his country, the 32-year-old former Sparta Prague, CSKA Moscow, Chelsea, Birmingham and Celtic player had spent the last two seasons at Russian first division side Samara, where his contract has expired. Zaragoza was reportedly looking for a defensive player of his type. Jarošík, who has won titles in four leagues, turned down a three-and-a-half-year offer from Sparta.
Czech international Libor Sionko has left FC Copenhagen to return to Sparta Prague, the CTK news agency reported on Thursday. The 32-year-old midfielder, who played for Sparta between 1999-2003, signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Prague club. Sionko has played 39 matches for the national team and scored eight goals. Sparta are second in the Czech championship which is in its winter break.
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