euro-spy : Smicer finally makes his match

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The Independent Online
The Czech Republic striker Vladimir Smicer received a welcome pass on Friday. It was a 24-hour one, and he used it to marry Pavlina Vizkova in Prague. Honeymoon plans, of course, include Sunday's Euro 96 final against Germany.

Thousands of fans filled the city's 13th-century Old Town Square following a civil ceremony attended by about 150 friends and relatives. As the couple emerged from the town hall Smicer, hair carefully arranged to hide four stitches gained during the semi-final with France, draped a red Slavia Prague club scarf around his black tuxedo to the delight of the crowd.

He got permission from Czech coach, Dusan Uhrin, to take leave of absence for the ceremony. He almost did not need to book a special charter flight: his team were on the brink of elimination when 3-2 down to Russia in the final minutes of their last group match. But with two minutes left, Smicer scored the equaliser to keep his country alive.

"I always knew he was clever." said new father-in-law Ladislav Vizek, himself a former Czech international. "He did what he could to delay the wedding and prolong his freedom with that goal."

Czech fans last celebrated a European Championship victory in 1976, when Smicer was a year old.


"Poborsky der ist klasse oder"