The Czech Republic has a long celebrated sports history, and its people, like their European counterparts, have a passion for sports like none other. The country is home to world-class athletes who have many laurels for their country and are regarded with respect and reverence by the Czechs.
Since sports are such a significant aspect of the people of the Czech Republic, let’s look at the most popular sports in the country.
Ice Hockey In The Czech Republic
When we consider the popularity of ice hockey, we presume it to be limited to countries that receive abundant snowfall. However, that is not the case! Despite not having a very cold climate, ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in the Czech Republic. The national ice hockey team is one of the best in the world, and its players are known worldwide.
Ice hockey was introduced to the region in the early 1900s, and the national ice hockey team was formed in 1908. Before that, a sport called bandy was very popular in the region, and when ice hockey was introduced, it was embraced widely by the masses. Before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the national team played in Czechoslovakia’s national team.
The Czech team has succeeded in many world championships, including 12 gold medals, 13 silver medals, and 21 bronze medals. The team has also won one gold medal, 4 silver, and 5 bronze medals in the Winter Olympics. Given the team’s performance, it is easy to see why the Czech Republic national ice hockey team is one of the Big Six and is currently in 6th place in the IIHF world ranking.
The country also has a national ice hockey league, the Czech Extraliga. The league was established in 1993 and currently has fourteen teams. A regular season runs from September to April. The second and third-tier ice hockey leagues are called the Czech 1. Liga and Czech 2.Liga.
In recent years, many talented ice hockey players have left to play for another team, which puts a question mark on the future of the sport in the country. The team did not qualify for the quarterfinals of the winter Olympics 2022 but won a bronze medal in the IIHF World Championship, which improved its world ranking.
Football In The Czech Republic
The next sport on our list is football, which is not surprising considering how the locals are so fond of it. When the Czech Republic played under the banner of the Czechoslovakia team, it finished in second place twice in the World Cup and also won the UEFA Euro Championship in 1976.
The locals were overjoyed when after the Velvet Divorce, the Czech Republic national team qualified for the World Cup in 2006. The first international contest in which the team participated was the UEFA Euro 1996. The team finished in second place in the tournament.
The national team is currently in 35th place in the FIFA rankings. In 1999, 2000, 2005, and 2006, the team was ranked number 2. Many renowned players, including Pavel Nedved, Tomas Rosicky, and Petr Cech, have played for top European Clubs.
At the domestic level, the Czech First League is the top football league in the country. The most successful team in the league is Sparta Prague, which has regularly participated in the UEFA Champions League. Many national team players over the years have come from this club too. Slavia Prague and FC Viktoria Plzen, two other renowned clubs, have also gained international recognition in recent years.
Sparta Prague has won the domestic championship 19 times from the women’s side and reached the quarterfinals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League thrice.
Basketball In The Czech Republic
Basketball is another popular sport in the Czech Republic. The national basketball team played internationally for the first time in 1993 in the EuroBasket. The team currently ranks 12th in the world. It played in the FIBA World Cup for the first time in 2019 and reached the tournament’s quarterfinal.
The top basketball in the country is the national basketball league, also formed in 1993. The league has 12 teams and follows a promotion and relegation system with 1. Liga is the second top league in the country.
Tennis In The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is home to numerous annual tennis events, the most prominent of which is the WTA Prague Open. Other contests include the Czech Open, which is held in Prostejov, the Prague Open, and the Prosperity Open, which is held in Ostrava. The Czech Open and the Prosperity Open are part of the ATP Challenge Tour.
The Czech Republic has had many notable tennis players, including Iven Lendl, Jan Kodes, Tomas Berdych, Jaroslav Drobny, Barbora Krejcikova, and Lucie Safarova, among others. The country’s women’s national team currently ranks 4th in the ITF and has won the Fed Cup six times between 2011 and 2018. The men’s team won the Davis Cup in 2012 and 2013 and currently ranks 19th in the world. It was the world no. 1 in 2013.
Floorball In The Czech Republic
The last sport on our list is Floorball. The sport has gained much popularity in recent years, and the number of players is also growing. The Czech Republic has the third-highest number of floorball players in the world.
The national team has secured second place once and third place twice in the World Floorball Championship. The country’s U-19 team won the U19 World Championship in 2019 and 2021. At the domestic level, the Superliga florbalu is the country’s top professional floorball league.