Euro 2012: Poland battles to tie Russia, Czechs score early to put away Greece

Poland (Getty Images)

By JOHN BOSCHINI

Despite being the lowest-ranked side in Euro 2012, Poland is not going quietly.

A stunning goal from Jakub Blaszczykowski in the second half salvaged a 1-1 draw for the co-hosts against Group A leaders Russia in Warsaw. 

The match was an end-to-end one, as the teams combined for 26 shots. Andrei Arshavin's perfectly weighted pass from a free kick found an unmarked Alan Dzagoev, and the 21-year-old striker made no mistake from six yards out for his tournament-leading third goal in the 37th minute. Russia looked to be cruising before the Poland captain's brilliant left-footed strike on the counter attack curled into the far corner 12 minutes into the second half.

Both teams had a couple of quality chances following the equalizer. Przemyslaw Tyton was forced into a smart save from Dzagoev before Eugen Polanski saw his shot parried away. The game petered out towards the end as both teams settled for the draw.

In Group A's other game:

CZECH REPUBLIC 2, GREECE 1

With two goals in the opening six minutes, the Czech Republic kept its advancement hopes alive, holding on for a 2-1 victory over Greece.

The Greeks were without two key central defenders and were made to pay in just the third minute. Tomas Hubschmann's through ball sliced open a disorganized Greece back line and allowed Petr Jiracek in on goal. Greece goalkeeper Costas Chalkias got a hand to Jiracek's hard shot but was unable to keep it out. The lead was doubled three minutes later when Theodor Gebre Selassie cut the ball back into the box and Vaclav Pilar struck the ball into an open net.

Greece's problems continued when Chalkias came up lame and had to be replaced by Michalis Sifakis. Greece had a goal disallowed in the 41st minute when Giorgos Fotakis' header was waived offside. Greece did pull a goal back in the 53rd minute when a calamitous error by Petr Cech allowed Theofanis Gekas to slot the ensuing rebound into a gaping net. The error was reminiscent of Cech's Euro 2008 spill that allowed Turkey to eliminate the Czech Republic in the group stages.

Despite dominating long stretches of the second half, Greece were unable to come up with an equalizer. They now face a difficult road to the knockout stages, needing a win against group-leading Russia. All four teams remain alive heading into the final day of Group A play on Saturday.

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What did you think of today's games? Which two teams do you think will ultimately advance from the group?

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5 Responses to Euro 2012: Poland battles to tie Russia, Czechs score early to put away Greece

  1. Alex says:

    Well the Poland v Czech game just became a must watch. Win and in makes for incredibly fun games to watch in group play

  2. drew11 says:

    Wow, two electric derbies in a row for Poland.

  3. PD says:

    Come on you Poles! I have you picked to make it to the final!

    That goal was sick. great first touch at full speed, perfect shot. GOLAZO!

  4. Artie says:

    I’m not sure ‘battles’ is the best verb to use there.

  5. Cygnis Media says:

    Poland entered the game as a major underdog. In addition to its lackluster performance in a draw against Greece in its first match, the Poles were playing without their star goalkeeper, Grzegorz Sandomierski, out because of a red card in that game.