Czechs win, Poland tie Russia
Czech Republic scored twice in the first six minutes but were forced to withstand a spirited Greece comeback, and held on for a 2-1 win in their Euro 2012 Group A match early Wednesday (Thailand time).
- Published: 13/06/2012 at 12:56 AM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
Poland and Russia played to a spirited 1-1 draw in the much anticipated late match.
The Wroclaw victory allowed the Czech Republic to get their Euro 2012 campaign back on track.
Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar scored their goals inside the opening six minutes as Michal Bilek's side bounced back from their 4-1 defeat to Russia in their opening game.
Surprise Euro 2004 winners Greece were handed a lifeline when Theofanis Gekas capitalised on a Petr Cech blunder eight minutes after the break but they were unable to force an equaliser and now face a struggle to reach the quarter-finals with one point from two games.
The Greeks were without two key defenders, Avraam Papadopoulos, out of the tournament with a knee injury, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who was suspended, and the Czechs raced into the fastest 2-0 lead in European Championship history.
A wonder goal from Jakub Blaszczykowski gave Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland their 1-1 Group A draw with Russia in the feisty, entertaining clash at Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw.
Alan Dzagoev's deft header had given Russia the half-time lead after an enthralling opening 45 minutes that saw the Poles create several good chances only to be denied by fine goalkeeping from Vyacheslav Malafeev, the width of a goalpost and some desperate defending.
Russia had dominated possession for large spells of the match though, so their lead was not unexpected, Dzagoev doing his burgeoning reputation no harm with a clever diagonal run and flick from Andre Arshavin's 37th minute free-kick.
But Franciszek Smuda's side continued to be adventurous on the break in the second half and they were rewarded in style when skipper Blaszczykowski unleashed a ferocious left-footed curler past Malafeev and inside the far post, having bought the space with a fine touch off the impressive Ludovic Obraniak's pass from the right.
The result leaves Russia top of Group A with four points, needing just a draw against Greece to ensure qualification for the quarter-finals.
Poland, meanwhile, need a win against local rivals Czech Republic on June 16 in what promises to be a thrilling do-or-die encounter in Wroclaw.
About the author
- Writer: Agencies, with BangkokPost.com