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Few things bring a country and its international residents together better than sports. Tonight, the Czech Republic hosts Belgium in a big World Cup qualifying game. Watch it on Czech TV at 8:45 p.m.

Czech Rep., Mar 27 (BD) — Few things bring together a country — and multiple nationalities and even the whole world — better than sports.

The Olympics. The Hockey World Championships. The pride of having a homegrown talent make an impact in foreign professional league. All of these get people talking.

None, however, capture the allure of the sport of football, that most democratic of sports that requires just a ball, a goal and players, and none rise to the level of the World Cup.

Qualification has begun for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Everyone has their favorites but the Czech national team started with a bang, travelling to Estonia and winning 2-6 on Wednesday.

Tonight, the Czech team will be in Prague to host Belgium at 8:45 p.m. The game will be on Czech TV.

On Tuesday, the team will travel to Cardiff to play Wales, also at 8:45 p.m.

Belarus is the fifth team in Group E. There are a total of 10 matchdays to determine the group placing. The next spate of games will be in September, October and November. The group winner will go directly to the 32-team final bracket in Qatar from November 21st to December 18th, 2022. Appropriately enough, it is the 22nd edition of the quadrennial men’s football tournament.

The Czech Republic has an exciting team that showed a lot of skill in the victory against Estonia. Midfielder Tomáš Souček led the way with a hat-trick. He will wear the captain’s armband tonight against Belgium.

Patrik Schick and Jakub Jankto also scored goals. So did, Antonin Barák, who gained control of a pass, tapped it twice above the ground as he positioned himself and then slammed it into the goal.

The Czech Republic and Belgium, which beat Denmark 0-2 on Wednesday, are the only group teams to have won their first games.

Belgium reached the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and it is packed with internationally recognizable players, like Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Romelu Lukaku (Internazionale), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) and Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid).

The Czech Republic, by contrast, is young. The country failed to qualify for the World Cup final rounds in 2010, 2014 and 2018. There are no superstars, and most of the team plays in the Czech domestic league.

The Czech national team has already qualified for the UEFA Euro Cup, which was postponed last year due to the coronavirus and is scheduled to begin in June. The Czech Republic will play Scotland (June 14th), Croatia (June 18th) and England (June 22nd).

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