Greece shocks the favoured Russians, knocking them out of the tournament and the Czech Republic defeat co-hosts Poland to advance to the quarter-finals.
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Greece players enjoy their success with their supporters in the National Stadium Warsaw. AFP
Euro 2012 update: Greece and Czech Republic in quarters
Veteran Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis halted Russia's Euro 2012 campaign in its tracks in Warsaw on Saturday, as the underdogs unexpectedly beat the Group A early pacesetters 1-0 to reach the last eight instead.
Seconds before the end of stoppage time in the first half, the 35-year-old midfielder latched onto a throw-in that Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich failed to deal with.
Dodging between the Russian rearguard, he fired a powerful low shot past goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev.
Russian midfielder Alan Dzagoev (L) shoots past Greek defender Giannis Maniatis during their Euro 2012 football match. AFP
The 4,000 Greek fans in Warsaw's stadium, who up to then had largely been outsung by 20,000 Russians, went wild as Karagounis hit home to put his side through on the head to head rule – both sides ending on four points behind group winners the Czech Republic.
Greece, who drew 1-1 with tournament co-hosts Poland in their first match and then lost 2-1 to the Czechs, looked the hungrier side from the start and refused to play a walk on part in Russia's expected drive to the quarter-finals.
Russia had thrashed the Czech Republic 4-1 in their own opening match and then drawn 1-1 with Poland – but Greece derailed their campaign.
In allusion to the economic crisis buffeting his homeland, Karagounis, who was in Greece's Euro 2004 winning squad, said his teammates had been determined to bring the fans some good cheer.
"When we left Greece, we all said 'we will give everything when our compatriots aren't having the best of times'. I believe that this tonight puts a smile on their faces.
"We're happy we managed to do this for Greece, for our country, for Greeks all over the world."
Russian coach Dick Advocaat said his team just could not break their rivals down.
"The other team just defended. With all due respect, it was hard to play against them. But it's not that we didn't play well," he insisted.
"We were undefeated for 16 games but we didn't win today. That's football. All compliments to Greece."
Petr Jiráček (L) of Czech Republic scores a goal past Rafał Murawski of Poland during their UEFA EURO 2012 Group A match in Wroclaw, Poland. AFP
Meanwhile in Wroclaw, Poland — Petr Jiracek scored a second-half winner to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 victory over Poland on Saturday and a place in the quarterfinals of the European Championship.
Poland, the tournament co-host, was knocked out with its defeat in the team’s final Group A game. The Czechs won the group and will play the runners-up in Group B.
Jakub Błaszczykowski (C) of Poland in action against Milan Baroš of Czech Republic. AFP
Pushing forward in the 72nd minute, Jiracek collected a pass from Milan Baros in the box, cut right past Poland’s Marcin Wasilewski and slotted the ball inside the far post.
Poland, which had to win to advance, immediately brought on two attacking players in the last 30 minutes to push for a goal, but struggled to create any serious threats.
After the final whistle, the Czech players swarmed each other on the pitch. The Poles fell to the ground, covering their faces. AFP
quarter-finals – competitions between the last eight competitors remaining in a tournament การแข่งขันก่อนรอบบรองชนะเลิศ
veteran – a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity ผู้อาวุโส
campaign – a series of matches in a tournament
halt in its tracks – to stop something suddenly and completely หยุดนิ่ง
underdog – a team that seems unlikely to win a competition ทีมที่เป็นรอง, เบี้ยล่าง
pacesetter – a person or team that is winning in a sports competition ผู้นำหน้า
stoppage time – extra allowed at the end of a half of football for stoppages during normal time, especially for injuries
latch on to – to become connected to something; to take control of a ball that is passed to you
dodge – to avoid someone, especially someone who is trying to stop you หลบหลีก
rearguard – the last line of defenders before the goal กองหลัง
go wild – to be full of strong feeling and excitement
head to head rule – a tournament rule that states when two teams end up with the same number of points from the matches played, the team that continues is the team that won the match played between the two
tournament – a competition for teams or single players in which a series of games is played, and the winners of each game play against each other until only one winner is left การแข่งขัน
co-host – one of two countries, cities, groups, people, etc. which provide the space and other things necessary for a special event เจ้าภาพร่วม
walk-on part -- a minor, unimportant part or role in a play, film, or in this case, a sports competition
thrash – to defeat an opponent very easily in a game or competition เฆี่ยน
derail – to prevent something from continuing in the way that it was planned ทำให้ล้มเหลว
allusion – something that is said or written that refers to or mentions another person or subject in an indirect way การพาดพิงถึง
crisis – a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point ช่วงวิกฤต
buffet – to knock or push somebody/something roughly from side to side พัดกระหน่ำ, โหมกระหน่ำ
squad – a team in sports from which the players for a match are chosen ทีม
determined – wanting to do something very much and not letting anyone or any difficulties stop you ตั้งใจจริง, ซึ่งมุ่งมั่น
good cheer – happiness, often after something bad has happened before
compatriots – people who are from the same country as you are คนชาติเดียวกัน
manage – to succeed in doing something สำเร็จ,จัดการได้สำเร็จ, ทำได้สำเร็จ
rivals – opponents; people you are fighting or competing against คู่แข่ง, คู่ต่อสู้
with all due respect – normally used when you are going to disagree, usually quite strongly, with somebody
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
undefeated – unbeaten; not having lost or been defeated ไม่เคยแพ้
compliment – something nice that you say to praise someone ชมเชย, สรรเสริญ
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน
defeat – a loss in a competition ความพ่ายแพ้
runners-up –second place in a competition รองอันดับหนึ่ง
slot – to put something into a space that is available, in this case, to shoot the ball into the goal ใส่ลงในช่อง
advance – to move forward, in this case, to the next round of the tournament เข้ารอบ
immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
struggle – to try hard to do something that you find very difficult พยายาม
threat – a danger, in this case, to get into a position to score a goal อันตราย
whistle – a small metal or plastic tube that you blow to make a loud high sound, used to attract attention or as a signal, the sound made by blowing a whistle นกหวีด, เสียงนกหวีด
swarm – to move around together in a large group รวมเป็นฝูง