Last year Martin Koukal shot to fame with gold at the Cross Country Skiing World Championships. This year, however, things have not been going to well for the young star, who came 45th in the latest round of the World Cup on Sunday. In football, the Czech Republic have once again drawn the Netherlands, this time in their qualifying group for the 2006 World Cup. Meanwhile, Lazio have arrived in Prague ahead of Tuesday's crucial Champions League tie against Sparta. In ice hockey, Pardubice are really pulling away from the rest of the Extraliga: after
Will a dispute over rights prevent television coverage of the Czech-held 2004 World Ice Hockey Championships? There has been no change at the top of the Czech Extraliga. In football, wonderboy Vaclav Sverkos has made the headlines by getting three goals against the best defence in Germany, while another young Czech sportsman has described his first taste of Formula 1 as "fantastic".
Against the odds, Teplice have beaten last year's winners Feyenoord to reach the third round of football's UEFA Cup, while Slavia Prague's failure to score against Levski in Bulgaria spelled their end in the competition. Sparta Prague, meanwhile, kept their dream of advancing to the knock-out stage of the Champions League alive by drawing away to Chelsea. Czech Robert Lang is heading the points table in ice hockey's NHL, and things seem to be on the up for the only Czech basketball player in the NBA, Jiri Welsch.
The leading Czech skier Katerina Neummanova has finally received the silver and bronze medals she won at the last Winter Olympics after a Russian who finished ahead of her was found to have taken drugs. Meanwhile, Jiri Raska - who won gold and silver medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics - has been named Czech skier of the century. In football, Sparta Prague go into the winter break some distance behind Ostrava, after being beaten by Jablonec. Czech born tennis legend Martina Navratilova has maintained her incredible 28-year Fed Cup unbeaten record,
After winning the European Under 21 Football Championships for the first time ever last year, the Czech Under 21s have failed to reach Euro 2004, after losing to Switzerland on penalties in play-offs in Ostrava on Wednesday. Two more Czech footballers have signed with Russian clubs, continuing a recent trend. In ice hockey, goaltender Roman Cechmanek kept a clean sheet for Los Angeles on Wednesday as he won his 100th NHL victory.
Three Czech football players scored their debut international goals in a 5:1 win over Canada on Saturday that showed the squad's strength in depth. Meanwhile, the country's Under 21s - the reigning European champions - are in a good position to reach their Euro 2004, after beating Switzerland away in the first leg of play-offs. Decathlete Roman Sebrle has once again been named Czech Athlete of the Year, and 17-year-old Jakub Sindel has broken Jaromir Jagr's record to become the youngest player to ever score a hat trick in the domestic ice hockey
The Czech football team has beaten Canada 5-1 in a friendly in the North Bohemian town of Teplice. Goals by Jankulovski, Poborsky, Heinz, Sionko and Skacel steered the Czechs to an easy victory before the start of the winter break. The Czech Republic haven't been beaten in the last 19 matches - a new record for Czech football.
Without a doubt one of the most interesting items making the front-pages this day is the BBC's interview with Vaclav Klaus. The Czech president appeared on the BBC's hard-hitting discussion programme Hardtalk, hosted by Tim Sebastian, on Monday. The programme, which does exactly what its title implies, asked some tough questions of the Czech president, asking him to reflect on the situation of the Czech Roma and alleged weapons exports, both issues the president downplayed or rejected outright, says MLADA FRONTA DNES. The daily quotes the president
In football, leaders Ostrava were fortunate to come away from Sparta Prague with a point on Saturday, after the most exciting league game seen in the Czech Republic in some time. Several Czech players found the net in various European leagues at the weekend, and coach Jaroslav Hrebik has taken over at Dinamo Moscow. The Czech ice hockey team came second in the Karjala Cup and the Velka Kunraticka cross country race was held for the 70th time, with one runner saying this was his last year after an incredible 55 outings!
Czech football clubs have had mixed experiences in European competitions this week: Sparta lost to Besiktas in the Champions League, while in the UEFA Cup Teplice caused a huge upset by beating 2002 winners Feyenoord away and Slavia drew with Levski Sofia, with two goals scored in time added on! In ice hockey, the Czechs had a winning start in the Karjala Cup and there is speculation Jaromir Jagr may leave Washington for Montreal.
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