Football: Pesice named interim Czech Republic coach

Josef Pesice has been named interim coach of the Czech Republic for the remainder of their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, replacing Michal Bilek, who quit earlier this week, the Czech football association said Friday.

Pesice was an assistant to Bilek, who resigned after the Czech Republic's 2-1 loss to Italy in Turin on Tuesday which all but closed the way to the tournament in Brazil for his team.

"I have asked Josef Pesice to perform the job of head coach for the (qualification) games in Malta and Bulgaria," association head Miroslav Pelta said.

The Czech Republic are fourth in European qualifying Group B with nine points, trailing second-placed Bulgaria by four points with two games to play.

Italy, with 20 points, have already secured a World Cup berth, and the Czechs must finish second to stand a chance of making it into the play-offs in November.

Pesice, a 63-year-old former midfielder, previously worked as a coach with several Czech top-flight teams and with the Czech under-19 team.