Czech Republic’s players take part in a training session on June 25, 2021 in Prague, during the UEFA Euro 2020 football competition. – AFP

PRAGUE: A plane door defect involving an inflated evacuation slide stopped the Czech Republic on their way to a Euro 2020 knockout game against the Netherlands in Budapest, the team said yesterday. The Czechs, who qualified as the third best team in Group D, are facing Group C winners the Netherlands at the Puskas Arena in a last-16 tie tonight.

The players were already sitting on the special plane on Saturday morning, but they had to get off over the defect. “I have experienced delayed flights, postponed flights, even cancelled flights because of the coronavirus,” tweeted midfielder Alex Kral.

“But this is my first flight that didn’t happen because of an evacuation slide inflated by mistake,” said the Spartak Moscow player. He added photos of the slide from inside and outside the plane, complete with a “slidesandjumpingcastles” hashtag. National team spokesman Petr Sedivy said later the flight was “not cancelled over an evacuation slide inflated BY MISTAKE but over technical problems with the plane door”.

“The Czech national football team will fly to Budapest in the afternoon,” Sedivy added. Based in Prague after having to move its base camp from Edinburgh over strict coronavirus rules in Scotland, the team held the official training session at a local stadium. – AFP