Fri, Jul 20, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Czechs win through to cup final

CELEBRATION In the first all-European semi-final for 20 years, the Czech Republic made their first-ever Under-20 World Cup final by defeating Austria

AP , EDMONTON, ALBERTA

The Czech U-20 team celebrate their 2-0 win over Austria in Edmonton on Wednesday in unorthodox style.

PHOTO: AP

Martin Fenin and Tomas Micola both scored in the first 15 minutes as the Czech Republic advanced to Sunday's championship game of the Under-20 World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Austria on Wednesday night.

The Czech Republic will meet the victor of yesterday's semi-final game between Chile and Argentina in the title match in Toronto.

Austria, without injured top defender Thomas Panny and two others due to suspension, never recovered from the early Czech onslaught in the first all-European semi-final played in the tournament in 20 years.

Even the presence of Erwin [Jimmy] Hoffer from the opening whistle couldn't help an Austrian side which required the star forward to come on as a late sub and score the winning goal in their two previous outings.

The Czechs to the lead after just four minutes in front of a crowd of 28,401.

After a foul on Fenin, the Czechs were awarded a free kick from just outside the penalty area to the far right of Austrian keeper Michael Zaglmair.

Lubos Kalouda's initial shot was parried but the rebound fell to Micola who scored his first goal of the tournament.

The Czechs continued to press early and doubled their lead in the 15th minute when Ondrej Kudela's cross eluded three players including a poorly positioned Zaglmair to find Fenin, who tapped in his second goal of the World Cup with just the Czech Republic's second shot of the match.

It very well could have been a three goal advantage for the Czechs in the 40th minute but Zaglmair was finally able to make an impoHrtant stop, getting in front of a point plank blast by Marek Strestik.

The Austrians got their first genuine opportunity in first half injury time when defender Markus Suttner sent a bullet wide of Czech keeper Petr Radek's right post.

The Austrians had a solid chance in the 49th minute when Hoffer blasted a shot just over the top of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Austria had another good opportunity to get back in the game in the 83rd minute as a long throw found Rubin Okotie but his header went narrowly wide of the Czech goal.

Another shot by Peter Hackmair in the 88th minute sailed just over the net and a header in injury time by captain Sebastian Proedl was stopped by Radek.

This is the first time the Czech Republic has ever made the final of the U-20 World Cup.

However the news wasn't all good for the winning side as the Czechs will be without the services of midfielder Petr Janda in the final after he was carded for diving in the 37th minute.

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