The Czech national soccer team have gathered in Prague ahead of their first games under new coach Karel Jarolím. The Czechs are set to face Armenia in a friendly in Mladá Boleslav on Wednesday before taking on Northern Ireland in Prague in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday. Five players, including Petr Čech, retired from international football after the recent Euro 2016, at which the Czech Republic picked up just one point in three games.
Key players for football club Viktoria Plzeň Daniel Kolář and František Rajtoral, with the club since 2008 and 2009, respectively, have signed with Turkish side Gaziantepspor. Kolář and Rajtoral, both 30, were part of a team which won four league titles and twice played in the first round of the Champions League.
Czech league title-holders Viktoria Plzeň have failed to reach the Champions League, Europe’s top club competition. The West Bohemians drew 2:2 at home with Ludogorets Razgrad on Tuesday night but went out on aggregate after losing the first leg in Bulgaria 2:0 last week. Plzeň played in the lucrative Champions League in 2011 and 2013. This term they will take part in the second-tier Europa League.
In football, former defender for the Czech national team Martin Jíranek is returning to Czech league football. The 37-year-old former defender with Spartak Moscow, Reggina, and Birmingham has signed a contract with first division Příbram. Before leaving the Czech Republic, Jíranek played for Liberec and Bohemians 1905. He played 31 games for his country including the semi-finals of Euro 2004.
In Sports News this week: no medals so far for the Czechs at Rio but they have pulled off some surprises and comebacks on the tennis courts. In football, both league title holders Viktoria Plzeň and Sparta Prague make a stuttering start to the season. And Czechs made an impression at the Moto Surf Wold Cup in Prague.
In football, Slavia Prague have moved through to the final pre-qualifying round of the Europa League after an away 1:1 draw against Portuguese team Ria Ave. The Czechs go through on away goals after a 0:0 draw at home. Josef Hušbauer put Slavia ahead in the 22nd minute. Down to 10-men, the home team drew level in the 57th minute but were held to the final whistle. In other action, Mladá Boleslav won 1:0 against Macedonian outfit Tetovo, but that was not enough to overcome the away 0:2 defeat.
Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Čech tops the rankings of the best paid Czech sportsmen and women even after his earnings reducing transfer from Chelsea last season. Čech’s annual earnings, combining his club wage and sponsor deals, is estimated at around 260 million crowns a year, according to the Forbes magazine. That puts him well ahead of second placed Czech Jaromir Jágr, whose annual income is estimated at 154 million crowns. Jágr jumped tennis player Petra Kvitova who previously occupied the second spot.
In football, Sparta Prague have once again been eliminated from the Champions League qualifying competition. Sparta went down 0:2 against Steaua Bucharest, losing the tie 1:3 on aggregate. Sparta will now have to focus on qualifying for the Europa League. Sparta last played in the Champions League group stage 11 years ago. Earlier, Slovan Liberec kept their hopes alive of playing in the Europa League with a 2:0 win against Austria’s Admira, winning 4:1 on aggregate.
Viktoria Plzeň have reached the playoffs for soccer’s Champions League. After a 0:0 draw at home, the Czech title-holders got through on the away goals rule following a 1:1 result against Qarabag in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on Tuesday night. Plzeň left it late, however, with a Michael Krmenčík goal drawing them level with only five minutes to go. Even if the West Bohemians fail to reach the Champions League they have now earned at least a place in the Europa League, the second-tier European club competition.
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