Czech football clubs lost in their second appearances in the Europa League on Thursday night. Sparta Prague went down 1:0 away against FC Copenhagen. Slavia Prague surrendered an early 1:0 lead against French club Lille to eventually go down to a humiliating 5: 1 defeat. Both Prague clubs are now at the bottom of their groups.
Czech football striker Václav Svěrkoš was sent off in a match between his side Sochaux and Valenciennes in the French league on Saturday. The Czech, who also plays for the national squad, was given a red card in the 82nd minute for a dangerous challenge on Gomis. Sochaux lost the game by a score of 5:2.
The Czech champions Slavia Prague were beaten away 2:0 by Genoa in their opening game of the group stage of football’s Europa League on Thursday evening. Slavia conceded for the first time after four minutes and found no way back after the Italians went 2:0 up just inside the half hour mark. Sparta, meanwhile, were leading Eindhoven 2:1 with only minutes remaining when they conceded a penalty, allowing the Dutch side to leave Prague with a point.
In his final appearance for the club, Vladimír Šmicer scored for Liverpool as they came from 3:0 down to beat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, one of the most dramatic football matches of all time. The Czech player had started what became the game of his career as a substitute, but was sent on after half an hour when a team-mate got injured. Looking back over four years later, Šmicer remembers his reaction when Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez told him to get ready.
The Czech soccer player Vladimír Šmicer has enjoyed a very successful career, winning league titles in the Czech Republic and France, and a number of trophies with one of the world’s biggest clubs, Liverpool. The attacking midfielder, who is now 36, was also part of the Czech team that surprised many by reaching the final of the 1996 European Championship. I met Vladimír Šmicer at the stadium of Slavia Prague, the club where his career began in the early 1990s.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s Lukáš Dlouhý and India’s Leander Paes take the doubles title at the US Open, their second Grand Slam of the year; Tomáš Rosický scores on an impressive return for Arsenal – former international team-mate Vladimír Šmicer tells us he hopes Rosický can avoid injury all season; Czechs Barbora Špotáková and Jaroslav Bába take silver medals in the javelin and high jump at the World Athletics Final; and Vítkovice top the table after three rounds of the new Extraliga season.
The Czech football captain Tomáš Rosický scored a goal for Arsenal on Saturday in his first game for the club since January last year. Rosický came on as a substitute in the second half of a Premier League match away to Manchester City, scoring a consolation goal to make it 4:2 when the hosts were already leading 4:1 with around ten minutes to go. The Czech midfielder, who turns 29 next month, was out of football for a year and a half with a knee injury he said he feared could end his career.
The Czech football referee Dagmar Damková officiated in the final of the women’s European Championships in Helsinki on Thursday, a game in which defending champions Germany beat England 6:2. Damková, who is 34, also officiated in the women’s final at the Beijing Olympics last year. She is the only woman to have refereed top flight men’s football in the Czech Republic.
Milan Baroš struck four times to help the Czech Republic give their World Cup qualification hopes a lift with a 7-0 win over San Marino on Wednesday. Václav Svěrkoš scored two and Tomáš Necid bagged one to complete a victory that leaves the Czechs with 12 points from eight matches in Group Three and still with a chance of qualification. Slovakia top the group with 16 points from seven games heading into their match away to second-placed Northern Ireland, who have 14 points from eight games. Poland and Slovenia are also in the running in a tight group, with only the winners qualifying for South Africa 2010 directly.
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