Euro 2012 – Day 5, As It Happened
By: Henry Whitfield
The Czech Republic rebounded from their thrashing at the hands of Russia to beat Greece 2-1 and Poland stunned Russia with a late equalizer in Group A action.
Both results leave the group wide open heading into the last round of matches next week, with all four teams able to qualify for the knockout rounds.
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Czech Republic 2 – 1 Greece
The Czech Republic wasted no time putting their tournament back on track, scoring two goals in the first six minutes of play to take a 2 – 0 lead.
Before Greece knew what had happened, they were on the back foot and trailing. A disastrous start to a game that they needed a result in.
Petr Jiracek scored the first, tucking away inch-perfect pass by Tomas Hubschman.
Then Vaclav Pilar followed it up with a goal from a few yards out, giving the Czech’s a lead they would hold onto for the entire game.
Pilar continued to boss the midfield and the 23-year-old continues to impress.
Fanis Gekas was able to claw a goal back just after half-time, but the Greeks were unable to draw even.
The only mark on this win for the Czech’s will be the play of veteran Keeper Petr Cech, who allowed his fifth goal of the tournament and has looked shaky in net.
Man of the Match: Vaclav Pilar
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Poland 1 – 1 Russia
Host Poland kept it’s dream of quarterfinal action alive after Captain Jakub Blaszczykowski scored a crucial tying goal in the second half and draw 1 – 1 with Russia.
Rob Lewandowski shone through for Poland, scoring a goal 17 minutes in but was flagged for offside, disallowing the high-light real goal.
Andrey Arshavin was again the spark for Russia in the midfield, working tirelessly and showing the form that made Arsenal splash out on a £15m move in 2009.
It was the Arsenal man who set up the opening goal, his free-kick being redirected home by Alan Dzagoev in the 37th minute.
Poland continued to press, but couldn’t find the goal they so desperately sought, with Lewandowski testing the Russian keeper time and time again.
It was the Polish Captain who found a way through, scoring a screamer past Malafeev and into the top corner, a top class finish.
The result means Russia needs just one point from their final game against Greece to move on in the tournament
Man of the Match: Rob Lewandowski
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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , he’ll be bringing daily updates throughout the entire European Championships.