Poland

Euro 2012: Group A Wrap-Up

Greece showed glimpses of their 2004 form

Euro 2012: Group A Wrap-Up

By: Henry Whitfield

Euro 2012 has been full of action and the last day of Group A continued the trend, with Poland and Russia crashing out of the tournament while underdogs Greece and Czech Republic live to play another day.

While Poland and Russia will be heartbroken at their early exits, the future for Greece and Czech Republic isn’t exactly bright, with their next round opponents emerging from the Group of Death.

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Greece 1  – 0 Russia

Greece struggled in both their opening matches, but took advantage of a first half strike by Giorgos Karagounis on the brink of half time to steal a spot in the knockout rounds.

Russia dominated play early on and the lone strike was completely against the run of play, with Karagounis taking advantage of a mistake by Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich.

The unlikely leaders held on after the break, being outshot 29-7 and having just 40% possession, but channelling the defensive mindset that shook the Euro’s of 2004, the Greeks were able to snatch the most unlikely of wins.

The lone black mark for the Greeks will be the suspension of Captain Karagounis for their next match, who was shown a yellow in the second half for what the referee deemed a dive.

Man of the Match: Giorgos Karagounis

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Petr Jiracek saved the day for the Czech’s

Czech Republic 1 – 0 Poland

Hosts Poland were unable to get the win they so desperately seeked, knocking the co-hosts out of the tournament while sending the Czechs through to the quarterfinals.

After a 4-1 drubbing by Russia in their opening match, the Czech Republic bounced back with a narrow 2 – 1 over Greece and after beating Poland they snuck up to top spot in Group A.

Both teams needed a win and they both fought for it in the first half, however,  it was a tale of two halves as the Czechs imprinted their dominance in the second half and the Polish team slowly faded away.

It was Petr Jiracek who sealed the Poles fate, slotting home a shot after being found wide open by former Liverpool frontman Milan Baros.

Petr Cech finally found his groove, stopping 9 shots on target and picking up a much needed clean sheet; the Czech keeper had allowed 5 goals in the first two matches.

Man of the Match:  Petr Cech

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Final Group A Standings: Czech Republic – 6 points | Greece – 4 Points | Russia – 4 PointsPoland – 2 Points

Our Group A Predictions:  Russia, Czech Republic, PolandGreece

 

Greece went on to ruin our predictions, but with a 50% start to the tournament we can’t be too upset. Not many thought the Czech’s could go through but our 2012 Darkhorse was able to seal top spot in the group.

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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.

 

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Euro 2012 – Day 5, As It Happened

Veteran Petr Cech has struggled to find his form

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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Blaszczykowski was mobbed by teammates after his second-half goal

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.