The Czech Republic known by its short-form name, Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with a temperate continental climate and oceanic climate, it is a unitary parliamentary republic, with 10.6 million inhabitants. Other major cities are Brno, Ostrava and Pilsen; the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, NATO, the OECD, the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income export-oriented social market economy based in services and innovation; the UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic is a welfare state with a "continental" European social model, a universal health care system, tuition-free university education and is ranked 14th in the Human Capital Index, it ranks as the 6th safest or most peaceful country and is one of the most non-religious countries in the world, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance.
The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia and Czech Silesia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire. After the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as an Imperial State of the Holy Roman Empire along with the Kingdom of Germany, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Beside Bohemia itself, the King of Bohemia ruled the lands of the Bohemian Crown, holding a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. In the Hussite Wars of the 15th century driven by the Protestant Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom faced economic embargoes and defeated five consecutive crusades proclaimed by the leaders of the Catholic Church. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary.
The Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Catholicism, adopted a policy of gradual Germanization; this contributed to the anti-Habsburg sentiment. A long history of resentment of the Catholic Church followed and still continues. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the German Confederation 1815-1866 as part of Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I. Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, while the Slovak region became the Slovak Republic.
Most of the three millions of the German-speaking minority were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections and after the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and market economy was reintroduced. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004. The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii"; the current English name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which comes from the Czech word Čech. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain.
The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people. The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the east, Czech Silesia in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas; when the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country. After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lac
Apollon Limassol is a Cypriot sports club, based in Limassol. It has football and volleyball teams. Founded in 1954, Apollon FC plays in the Cypriot First Division and has won the championship title 3 times, the cup 9 times and the Super Cup 3 times. Apollon is considered as one of the most successful clubs of the island and the second most successful in Limassol with 15 major trophies and 4 participations in the Europa League Group Stages. Apollon FC has a fanatic following, considered to be among the largest in number in Cyprus. At the end of 1953, a team of young men placed as a dream and objective, the foundation of an association with national and athletic aims based on promoting the education and social skills of its young members. On 14 April 1954, the general assembly of these members with leader Mr Christakis Pavlides proposes the foundation of an athletic association called "APOLLON LIMASSOL"; the assembly approved the proposal and thus from that date "APOLLON was born". The first administrative council of the team included: Charalambos Lymbourides, Andreas Psyllides, Antonakis Fourlas, Melis Charalampous, Andreas Theoharous Andreas Aggelopoulos and Kostas Panayiotou In its first year, Apollon had 8 defeats in 8 matches in the second division.
Just before the next season, Apollon won the regional group in the second division and subsequently the play-offs and was promoted to the first division. This took place in 1957 and since Apollon has been competing in the first division. Through his history, Apollon won three Championships, nine Cups, 3 Super Cup and had some successful participation in European competitions, winning several important games and at the same time, the respect of many European football clubs during the several participations in the Group Stage of the Europa League. In its first year, Apollon suffered. Just before the next season, Apollon won the regional group in the second division and subsequently the play-offs and was promoted to the first division; this took place in 1957 and since Apollon has been competing in the first division. Things were not easy however for the newly promoted club. Apollon couldn't reach a satisfactory position in the rankings and was struggling in the middle of the table for many years.
But in the mid-60's things changed. In 1965 Apollon reached the Cup Final. However, Omonia won the title with a score of 5–1. A year Apollon was in the Final again, won the Cup by defeating Nea Salamina with the score of 4–2, triumphantly took the trophy to Limassol. Apollon managed to maintain its Cup title in 1967, by beating Alki 1–0 thanks to the goal of Antonis Panayides. After celebrating these titles, Apollon had to wait another 15 years to start making history once again. In the football season 1981–82 Apollon managed to reach once again the Cup final however in double games Omonia won the Cup. In the 1985–86 season, after 20 years of "drought" Apollon won once again the Cup in Tsirion Stadium, overcoming APOEL with a score of 2–0. Scores were Sokratous. In these years, it emerged that absent was this "something" that could make the difference for the team to lead in the Championship; this "something" therefore was non-other than the German coach named Diethelm Ferner who, upon arriving in Cyprus was determined to win.
The German, with his discipline and hard work accomplishes "links" between young talented footballers with older more experienced footballers creating a team ready for the big time. Thus in the season 1990–91 the team entered the championship "marathon" wanting to write the biggest and most glorious page in its history book. After a frantic and impressive season, offering both substance and spectacle in its game, Apollon was crowned Champion of Cyprus! From that year and for a five-year period the team gained the admiration of all Cypriot football fans after playing modern football. In 1991–92 season Apollon won the Cup for the fourth time, overcoming Omonia in final with a final score of 1–0; the scorer was Evgenio Ptak. However, in the next season of 1992–93 Apollon lost both titles; the team returned and gained the club's second Championship one year in 1993–94 season after a hard duel with Anorthosis where the title was judged on the last day of the season. In the 1994–95 season Apollon reached the Cup final losing from Apoel with 2–4 while the same happened in the 1997–98 season with "executioner" this time the almighty Anorthosis, that accomplishes and gains the cup with a final score 1–3.
In that five-year period Apollon was accomplished in the European ties, winning enough games and at the same time the respect of many European football clubs. However, the game, in which Apollon wrote his own unique history is non-other than with the big opponent of Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup! The 1–0 in "Stadio Giuseppe Meazza" left margins for Apollon to believe in a miracle, against the Italians for the second leg game of 3 November 1993; the Cup Champions, staffed with a squad of international players led by Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp talked for a walkover in Cyprus against "fishermen" and that the game in Milan was just a bad game for their team. However, the Inter team was found in Limassol, losing in the first ten minutes with a 0–2 score and only managed to recover and to finish another historic tie with 3–3, leaving at the end the gre
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champions of the strongest UEFA national associations. Introduced in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs' Cup, more known as the European Cup, it was a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each national championship; the competition took on its current name in 1992, adding a round-robin group stage and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries. It has since been expanded, while most of Europe's national leagues can still only enter their champion, the strongest leagues now provide up to five teams. Clubs that finish next-in-line in their national league, having not qualified for the Champions League, are eligible for the second-tier UEFA Europa League competition.
In its present format, the Champions League begins in late June with four knockout qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 6 surviving teams enter the group stage; the 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams and play each other in a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in May; the winner of the Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup. The competition has been won by 22 clubs. Real Madrid is the most successful club in the tournament's history, having won it 13 times, including its first five seasons. Real Madrid are the reigning champions. Spanish clubs have the highest number of victories, followed by Italy. England has the largest number of winning teams, with five clubs having won the title; the first pan-European tournament was the Challenge Cup, a competition between clubs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Mitropa Cup, a competition modelled after the Challenge Cup, was created in 1927, an idea of Austrian Hugo Meisl, played between Central European clubs.
In 1930, the Coupe des Nations, the first attempt to create a cup for national champion clubs of Europe, was played and organised by Swiss club Servette. Held in Geneva, it brought together ten champions from across the continent; the tournament was won by Újpest of Hungary. Latin European nations came together to form the Latin Cup in 1949. After receiving reports from his journalists over the successful Campeonato Sudamericano de Campeones of 1948, Gabriel Hanot, editor of L'Équipe, began proposing the creation of a continent-wide tournament. After Stan Cullis declared Wolverhampton Wanderers "Champions of the World" following a successful run of friendlies in the 1950s, in particular a 3–2 friendly victory against Budapest Honvéd, Hanot managed to convince UEFA to put into practice such a tournament, it was conceived in Paris in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs' Cup. The first edition of the European Cup took place during the 1955–56 season. Sixteen teams participated: Milan, AGF Aarhus, Djurgården, Gwardia Warszawa, Partizan, PSV Eindhoven, Rapid Wien, Real Madrid, Rot-Weiss Essen, Saarbrücken, Sporting CP, Stade de Reims, Vörös Lobogó.
The first European Cup match took place on 4 September 1955, ended in a 3–3 draw between Sporting CP and Partizan. The first goal in European Cup history was scored by João Baptista Martins of Sporting CP; the inaugural final took place at the Parc des Princes between Stade de Real Madrid. The Spanish squad came back from behind to win 4–3 thanks to goals from Alfredo Di Stéfano and Marquitos, as well as two goals from Héctor Rial. Real Madrid defended the trophy next season in their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, against Fiorentina. After a scoreless first half, Real Madrid scored twice in six minutes to defeat the Italians. In 1958, Milan failed to capitalise after going ahead on the scoreline twice, only for Real Madrid to equalise; the final held in Heysel Stadium went to extra time where Francisco Gento scored the game-winning goal to allow Real Madrid to retain the title for the third consecutive season. In a rematch of the first final, Real Madrid faced Stade Reims at the Neckarstadion for the 1958–59 season final winning 2–0.
West German side Eintracht Frankfurt became the first non-Latin team to reach the European Cup final. The 1959–60 season finale still holds the record for the most goals scored, with Real Madrid beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in Hampden Park, courtesy of four goals by Ferenc Puskás and a hat-trick by Alfredo Di Stéfano; this was a record that still stands today. Real Madrid's reign ended in the 1960–61 season when bitter rivals Barcelona dethroned them in the first round. Barcelona themselves, would be defeated in the final by Portuguese side Benfica 3–2 at Wankdorf Stadium. Reinforced by Eusébio, Benfica defeated Real Madrid 5–3 at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and kept the title for a second, consecutive season. Benfica wanted to repeat Real Madrid's successful run of the 1950s after reaching the showpiece event of the 1962–63 European Cup, but a brace from Brazilian-Italian José Altafini at the Wembley Stadi
Forward (association football)
Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, are therefore most responsible for scoring goals. Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards score more goals on behalf of their team than other players. Modern team formations include one to three forwards. Unconventional formations may include none; the traditional role of a centre-forward is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. The player may be used to win long balls or receive passes and retain possession of the ball with their back to goal as teammates advance, in order to provide depth for their team or help teammates score by providing a pass. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the second strikers or central attacking midfielders, do the majority of the ball handling outside the box; the present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder in the 4–3–1–2 or 4–1–2–1–2 formations.
The term "target man" is used to describe a particular type of striker whose main role is to win high balls in the air and create chances for other members of the team. These players are tall and physically strong, being adept at heading the ball; the term centre-forward is taken from the early football playing formation in which there were five forward players: two outside forwards, two inside forwards, one centre-forward. When numbers were introduced in the 1933 English FA Cup final, one of the two centre-forwards that day wore the number nine – Everton's Dixie Dean a strong, powerful forward who had set the record for the most goals scored in a season in English football during the 1927–28 season; the number would become synonymous with the centre-forward position. The role of a striker is rather different from that of a traditional centre-forward, although the terms centre-forward and striker are used interchangeably at times, as both play further up the field than other players, while tall and technical players, like Zlatan Ibrahimović, have qualities which are suited to both positions.
Like the centre-forward, the traditional role of a striker is to score goals. They are fast players with good ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short bursts of speed. A good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, have the ability to link-up with teammates and pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. While many strikers wear the number 9 shirt, the position, to a lesser degree, is associated with the number 10, worn by more creative deep-lying forwards such as Pelé, with numbers 7 and 11, which are associated with wingers. Deep-lying forwards have a long history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years; such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards. More two more variations of this old type of player have developed: the second, or shadow, or support, or auxiliary striker and, in what is in fact a distinct position unto its own, the number 10, exemplified by Dennis Bergkamp.
Other number 10s who play further back, such as Diego Maradona and Zinedine Zidane, are described as an attacking midfielder or the playmaker. The second striker position is a loosely defined and most misapplied description of a player positioned somewhere between the out-and-out striker, whether he is a "target-man" or more of a "poacher", the Number 10 or attacking midfielder, while showing some of the characteristics of both. In fact, a term coined by French advanced playmaker Michel Platini, the "nine-and-a-half", which he used to describe Roberto Baggio's playing role, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position. Conceivably, a Number 10 can alternate as a second-striker provided that he is a prolific goalscorer. Second or support strikers do not tend to get as involved in the orchestration of attacks as the Number 10, nor do they bring as many other players into play, since they do not share the burden of responsibility, functioning predominantly as assist providers.
In Italy, this role is known as a "rifinitore" or "seconda punta", whereas in Brazil, it is known as "segundo atacante" or "ponta-de-lança". The position of inside forward was popularly used in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries; the inside forwards would support the centre-forward and making space in the opposition defence, and, as the passing game developed, supporting him or her with passes. The role is broadly analogous to the "hole" or second striker position in the modern game, although here there were two such players, known as inside right and inside left. In early 2–3–5 formations the inside-forwards would flank the centre-forward on both sides. With the advent of
MFK Havířov is a Czech football club located in Havířov. It plays in Divize E, in the Czech Fourth Division. In the 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96 and 1996–97 seasons, the club played in the Czech 2. Liga. 1922 ČSK Moravská Suchá AFK Suchá SK Beskyd Havířov Baník Dukla Havířov Baník Dukla Suchá TJ Dolu Dukla Suchá TJ Baník Havířov FK Baník Havířov 2003 FK Havířov 2006 MFK Havířov Bohuš Keler is the current club manager, having taken over in January 2011. Official website
Ostrava is a city in the north-east of the Czech Republic and is the capital of the Moravian-Silesian Region. It is 15 km from the border with Poland, at the meeting point of four rivers: the Odra, Ostravice and Lučina. In terms of both population and area Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic, the second largest city in Moravia, the largest city in Czech Silesia, it straddles the border of the two historic provinces of Silesia. The population was around 300,000 in 2013; the wider conurbation – which includes the towns of Bohumín, Havířov, Karviná, Orlová, Petřvald and Rychvald – is home to about 500,000 people, making it the largest urban area in the Czech Republic apart from the capital, Prague. Ostrava grew in importance due to its position at the heart of a major coalfield, becoming an important industrial centre, it was known as the country's "steel heart" thanks to its status as a coal-mining and metallurgical centre, but since the Velvet Revolution it has undergone radical and far-reaching changes to its economic base.
Industries have been restructured, the last coal was mined in the city in 1994. However, remnants of the city's industrial past are visible in the Lower Vítkovice area, a former coal-mining, coke production and ironworks complex in the city centre which retains its historic industrial architecture. Lower Vítkovice has applied for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since the 1990s Ostrava has been transformed into a modern cultural city, with numerous theatres and other cultural facilities. Various cultural and sporting events take place in Ostrava throughout the year, including the Colours of Ostrava music festival, the Janáček May classical music festival, the Summer Shakespeare Festival and NATO Days. Ostrava is home to two public universities: the VŠB-Technical University and the University of Ostrava. In 2014 Ostrava was a European City of Sport; the city co-hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in 2004 and 2015. The city's coat of arms features a blue shield with a rearing silver horse standing on a green lawn.
The horse wears a red coverlet. At the top right of the shield there is a golden rose with a red core; the horse in the coat-of-arms wears no bridle. The oldest known depiction of this coat-of-arms is on a seal dating from 1426; the first coloured version dates from 1728. The horse is interpreted as a symbol of Ostrava's position on a major trade route, or as a figure taken from the coat-of-arms of Ostrava's first vogt, while the golden rose comes from the family coat-of-arms of the bishop of Olomouc Stanislav Thurzo; this explanation is supported by most modern literature. Another theory suggests that the Bishop granted Ostrava the right to use the horse in its coat-of-arms out of gratitude for the assistance that the town provided to the people of the Bishop's estate in Hukvaldy when the estate was being looted and pillaged; the help came so that the pillagers did not have time to attach bridles to their horses before making their escape. There is a legend which tells of a siege of Ostrava during which the besieged townspeople released unbridled horses to run in circles around the town.
This is said to have confused the attacking armies so much. In 2008, Ostrava's new marketing logo was unveiled. Designed by Studio Najbrt, the logo "OSTRAVA!!!" is used in public presentations of the city both in the Czech Republic and abroad. The three exclamation marks are meant to symbolise the dynamism and self-confidence of Ostrava and its people; the light blue colour of the city's name is based on the heraldic tradition, while the exclamation marks are a contrasting darker blue. The first written mention of Slezská Ostrava dates from 1229; the first mention of Moravian Ostrava describes it as a township. Ostrava grew up from which it took its name; this river still divides the city into two main parts: Silesian Ostrava. The settlement occupied a strategic position on the border between the two historical provinces of Moravia and Silesia, on the ancient trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic known as the Amber Road; this location helped the town to flourish. However, Ostrava began to decline in importance after the Thirty Years’ War, when it was occupied by Swedish forces from 1621–1645.
A turning point in Ostrava's history came in 1763 with the discovery of extensive deposits of high-quality bituminous coal on the Silesian bank of the Ostravice River. In 1828 the owner of the local estates, Archbishop Rudolf Jan of Olomouc, established an ironworks, named after him as the Rudolfshütte; the ironworks passed into the ownership of the Rothschild family, became known as the Vítkovice Ironworks. This company became the driving force behind Ostrava's industrial boom. By the second half of the 20th century the city was nicknamed the country's "steel heart". After the Second World War and the liberation of Ostrava by the Red Army, the city entered its greatest period of expansion; the new housing projects were on a small scale, focused on the Poruba district and featuring architecture in the Socialist realist style. The authorities built larger-scale developments of prefabricated apartment blocks in Poruba and created a series of satellite estates to the south of the city; the city centre was depopulated and people were moved out to the suburbs.
This was part of a long-term plan to
AC Sparta Prague
Athletic Club Sparta Praha known as Sparta Prague, is a Czech football club based in Prague. It is the most successful club in the Czech Republic and one of the most successful in central Europe, winning the central European Cup three times as well as having reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1992 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1973. Sparta have been successful on the international stage, winning the Small Club World Cup, the predecessor to the FIFA Club World Cup, in 1969. Sparta have won 36 domestic league titles, the Czech Cup 27 times a record, the Czech Supercup twice. Sparta was long the main source for the Czech Republic national football team, however this has ceased to be the case, as the best Czech players exclusively play in foreign leagues. Sparta play at Prague's Generali Arena known as Letná Stadium. At the close of 1893, a small group of young people based around three brothers – Václav and Rudolf Rudl – had the idea of setting up a sports club. On 16 November, the founders' meeting approved the club's articles of association and one month on 17 December, the first annual general meeting took place.
Soon after that, the Athletic Club Sparta came up with its tricolour, in which blue symbolises Europe, red is the symbol of the royal city, though the reason for the yellow is not known any more. At the beginning of the club's football history, the players used to wear black jerseys with a big "S" on the front, they played for two years in black-and-white striped jerseys, which they returned to, wearing them as a reserve strip, for two years in 1996. In 1906, club president Dr. Petřík was in England where he saw the famous Woolwich Arsenal play with their red jerseys and decided to bring one set to Prague. At that time, he did not realise. Together with the red jerseys, Sparta players wear black socks. Shortly after World War I, a team was put together that triggered off the famous period of the 1920s and'30s referred to as "Iron Sparta". A football league in Czechoslovakia was established in the mid-twenties and the club collected title after title. To this day, the fans still recall the names of the players of that period with admiration: Peyer, Perner, Káďa, Kolenatý, Červený.
A few years some no less famous names appeared, such as Hochman, Hajný, Šíma, Silný, Čtyřoký, Košťálek and in particular Oldřich Nejedlý, the top scorer at the 1934 FIFA World Cup. Shortly before this most famous era kicked off, Vlasta Burian, the man who became the king of Czech comedians, played in goal for the club; the milestones of the first golden period of the club's history are two Central European Cup titles, which in the'20 and the'30s enjoyed the same recognition as that of today's Champions League. Sparta's three titles are important milestones in the cup's history. After two triumphs in 1927 and 1935, the third came in 1964, at a time when the cup's importance was falling behind that of other European cups. In 1946, AC Sparta toured Great Britain opening with a 2–2 draw against Arsenal on 2 October. Golden periods alternated with years when Sparta fans only nostalgically remembered the "good old times". After substantial changes driven by the socialist regime, bringing frequent changes of the club's name rather than achievements to be proud of, the title in 1954 was the last one before a long period of misery.
Only the great era of the team around Andrej Kvašňák in the 1960s brought back memories of the club's golden years. There are still many people who recollect the era of Jiří Tichý and Václav Mašek; those were the days when Sparta hosted the biggest number of fans in its history, with the stadium at that time accommodating 40,000. All three of the above-mentioned heroes were part of the national team that finished second at the 1962 World Cup in Chile. Other important players in these "golden years" were Vladimír Táborský and Ivan Mráz. Up until 1975, Sparta was the only Czech club. In this year, due to a number of circumstances, the team dropped to division two; the club only spent one year in this division, with the crucial matches for the club's comeback to the elite being sold out. The club did not win another league title until the early 1980s. Built around Chovanec, Berger, Hašek, Skuhravý and Griga, the team regained its former status and won five league titles in a row between 1986 and 1991.
In 1983 -- 84, the team got as far as the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. In the early 1990s, this successful era was continued by the next generation of players, such as Siegl, Horňák, Němeček, Frýdek, Němec and Kouba. Sparta has achieved a number of international successes, including two Central European Cup titles in the period of "Iron Sparta". More recent high points include Sparta's performance in the first year of the UEFA Champions League, in 1991–92. Sparta defeated Rangers Marseille and reached the semi-final group. Playing Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv and Benfica, Sparta finished second. Unlike today's system, only the group winner reached the final. Being second in the group, Sparta was unofficially fourth best team. Sparta participated in the group stage of Champions League between 1997 and 2006; the club enjoyed their best Champions League performances in the 1999–2000 and 2001–02 seasons, reaching the now-defunct second group stage on both occasions. In 1999–2000, it won its initial group under the management of Ivan Hašek, was third in the quarter-final group.
In that group, Sparta came