Franz Beckenbauer is without question one of the all-time greats of world football. The elegant defender played over a hundred times for West Germany, captaining the side which won the World Cup in 1974. In 1990 he again tasted glory in the competition, as Germany's manager. As the country prepares to host this year's World Cup, Beckenbauer - on a visit to Prague - recalls his first World Cup, and assesses the chances of the Czech Republic.
In Sports News: the Czech Republic have drawn a tough qualifying group for Euro 2008, says Vladimir Smicer; Czech captain Tomas Galasek is to leave Ajax after six years; Czech Martin Damm and partner Leander Paes lose in the doubles final at the Australian Open; and Jaromir Jagr and the rest of the Czech colony at the New York Rangers go on a scoring spree.
Three-time football world champion Pele, Czech supermodel Tereza Maxova, and a twelve-year-old Czech boy named Vojtech: at a glitzy event in London over the weekend these three presented the Czech national squad's new football jersey. If clothes make the man, will the new ultra-light jersey, manufactured by Puma, "make" the Czech team in this year's World Cup? Organisers certainly hope so.
In Sports News: as the Olympics draw near, cross country skier Katerina Neumannova wins her third World Cup race in a row; ski jumper Jakub Janda vows to quit ski flying, and denies German allegations that he cheats; footballer Tomas Repka rejoins Sparta Prague after eight years abroad; and most Czech tennis players go through on day one of the Australian Open.
Without question 2006 is a year to look forward to in Czech sport: from Olympic hockey to the football World Cup. Both tournaments are taking place just around the corner, in Italy and Germany, so a lot of Czechs will be on the move, both fans - and reporters. Jan Velinger spoke to Jan Palicka, a senior writer for Mlada Fronta Dnes, and asked him how he saw Czech prospects this year:
In Sports News: Jakub Janda becomes only the second Czech to win the Four Hills ski jumping tournament, though he shares first place with his biggest rival; cross country skier Lukas Bauer finishes second for the second weekend in a row; teenage tennis player Lucie Safarova wins the third WTA title of her career in Australia's Gold Coast; and ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr maintains his lead in the NHL players' points table.
In this rather seasonal Sports News: seventy-one hardy fellows (and ladies) brave the freezing River Vltava for an annual St Stephen's Day swim; former football internationals take part in an annual indoor tournament; Milan Baros scores while Petr Cech makes a terrible error; and Vladimir Ruzicka Jr follows in his father's footsteps, scoring his first goal in the national ice hockey league at 16.