Czech Republic makes history

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CHUGGING ALONG: With coach Miroslav Soukup guiding them, the Czech Republic players celebrate their FIFA Under-20 World Cup semifinal win in a novel way on Wednesday.
CHUGGING ALONG: With coach Miroslav Soukup guiding them, the Czech Republic players celebrate their FIFA Under-20 World Cup semifinal win in a novel way on Wednesday.

Micola and Fenin ensure comfortable victory over Austria

Edmonton: Tomas Micola and Martin Fenin 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 Thursday’s semifinal game between Chile and Argentina in the title match in Toronto.

Austria, without injured top defender Thomas Panny and two others in the back due to suspension, never recovered from the early Czech outburst in the first all-European semifinal played in this 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 in as a late sub and score the winning goal in its two previous outings.

The Czechs led after just four minutes before a crowd of 28,401.

Lightning start

After a hard tackle 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 batted down but the rebound came out to Micola who put home his first goal of the tournament.

Doubling the lead

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 of the World Cup on 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 a key stop, getting in front of a point plank blast by Marek Strestik.

The Austrians got their first real opportunity in injury time for the first half when defender Markus Suttner sent a bullet wide to Czech goalkeeper Petr Radek’s right.

The Austrians finally started to develop an attack to start the second and had a solid chance in the 49th minute when Hoffer flared a shot just over the top of the net from the lip of the penalty area.

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

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 — Austria’s only shot on goal in the entire match.

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

However the news wasn’t universally 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.

The results (semifinals): Czech Republic 2 (Micola, Fenin) bt Austria 0. — AP

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