The opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy takes place today and the games run through February 26. There are high expectations for the Czech hockey team, which won the gold medal in the 1998 Olympics, the ski jumper Jakub Janda who won a silver and a bronze at the 2005 World Championships, and cross-country skier Kateřina Neumannová who won a gold medal at the 2005 World Championships.
Petr Čech was named the best football (soccer) goalkeeper in the world for the year 2005 by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, an organization which has been ranking goalkeepers since 1987. The 23 year-old Czech plays in London for the Chelsea Football Club.
The group draw for the 2006 World Cup in football (soccer) took place tonight. The Czech Republic was placed in Group E with Italy, Ghana, and the United States. The Czechs’ first game will be against the U.S. on June 12 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.
The Czech Republic beat Norway 1-0 in the second leg of the football play-off match in Prague and advanced to the World Cup in Germany, which begins in June 2006. This is the first time the Czech Republic has qualified since the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993. The official FIFA World Cup website is a great source for World Cup news.
After the game, the Czech team donned t-shirts which said “Odjíždíme! A vy? – Germany 205 dní”, which means “We’re leaving! And you? – Germany 205 days”. We can hear fireworks going off in the distance.