After a day of rest we’re back to the serious business of European Championship football; the first quarter-final match of Poland-Ukraine 2012.
Both teams reached the finals via the play-offs; both teams lost their opening game; and now one of them will be in the semi-final.
Ronaldo showed his frustration at Portugal’s sloppy passing and then having to head clear for a corner; as Czech Republic posed most of the early attacking threat.
Then on the twenty-fifth minute, Petr Cech threw himself in front of Ronaldo to block a shot at point-blank range; not having heard the whistle from Howard Webb.
Hélder Postiga had to be stretchered off before half-time; with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.
Portugal upped the pressure just before the break; with Ronaldo making a classy swivel turn, only to be denied by the post.
Half-time: Czech Republic 0 – Portugal 0
Portugal started the second-half the way they ended the first; looking for the advantage, before the sixty-minute plus nervousness started to kick in.
For the most part, Czech Republic seemed happy not to concede a goal; some would say: ‘lucky not to’.
Czech Republic 0 – Portugal 1 (79 mins)
The relentless pressure was like the final straw that broke the camel’s back. From one counter-attack to another. When João Moutinho’s cross was whipped in from the right, Cristiano Ronaldo ran in front of the Czech defence to head down hard and watch the ball bounce over Petr Cech.
Without Ronaldo, this might be a very ordinary Portugal team; but let’s not forget that Moutinho provided the crucial ball.
Portugal are in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 and can sit back and wait to see if they will be playing Spain or France.
Czech Republic 0 – Portugal 1
Czech Republic vs Poland
Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw.
Poland seemed to have most of the early chances; while the Czechs looked a little nervous without Tomas Rosicky.
Czech Republic pressured Poland a little more towards the end of the first-half, but after forty-five minutes the game remained goaless.
Half-time: Czech Republic 0 – Poland 0
in Warsaw (45 mins).
While the Czech Republic and Poland players walked towards their dressing rooms, Greece took the lead against Russia; Giorgos Karagounis firing low and hard under the goalkeeper, Vyacheslav Malafeev.
Half-time: Greece 1 – Russia 0
The late, late goal in Warsaw meant that a draw in Wroclaw would be the end of the road for both the Czech Republic and Poland; if the scores stayed the same in both games.
Czech Republic looked the most likely to score for much of the second-half.
in Wroclaw (72 mins).
Then the much anticipated goal game. Milan Baros, who often looked a lonely figure up front, ran through the middle and released Petr Jiracek to his left. Jiracek cut inside past the defender and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
This meant that Czech Republic would go through and effectively knock Russia out; even though Russia beat them 4:1 in their first game.
Poland needed two goals to go through but an equaliser would have stopped the Czech Republic from advancing and thrown Russia a lifeline.
For twenty minutes, so much rested on one ball.
With the last touch of the game, Michal Kadlec headed off the line to keep Czech Republic in the tournament.
Czech Republic 1 – Poland 0
Greece 1 – Russia 0
1-Petr Cech; 3-Michal Kadlec, 6-Tomas Sivok, 8-David Limbersky, 2-Theodor Gebre Selassie; 13-Jaroslav Plasil, 17-Tomás Hubschman, 14-Vaclav Pilar, 19-Petr Jiracek; 15-Milan Baros, 18-Daniel Kolár.
22-Przemyslaw Tyton; 15-Damien Perquis, 13-Marcin Wasilewski, 2-Sebastian Boenisch, 20-Lukasz Piszczek; 5-Dariusz Dudka, 7-Eugen Polanski, 11-Rafal Murawski, 10-Ludovic Obraniak, 16-Jakub Blaszczykowski; 9-Robert Lewandowski.
Greece vs Russia – National Stadium, Warsaw.
13-Michail Sifakis; 5-Kyriakos Papadopoulos, 19-Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 3-Giorgios Tzavellas, 5-Vasilis Torosidis; 21-Kostas Katsouranis, 10-Giorgos Karagounis, 2-Giannis Maniatis; 7-Georgios Samaras, 17-Theofanis Gekas, 14-Dimitris Salpingidis.
16-Vyacheslav Malafeev; 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 12-Alexei Berezutsky, 5-Yuri Zhirkov, 2-Alexander Anyukov; 7-Igor Denisov, 22-Denis Glushakov, 6-Roman Shirokov; 10-Andrei Arshavin, 11-Alexander Kerzhakov, 17-Alan Dzagoev.
Greece vs Czech Republic (1:2)
Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw.
A win for Greece would pretty much halt Czech Republic’s European Championship hopes here in Wroclaw so the Czechs needed to get off to a quick start.
Greece 0 – Czech Republic 2
By six minutes in, the score had doubled. Theodor Gebre Selassie ran down the right to the touchline and pulled the ball back to Vaclav Pilar in the centre; who stumbled through two defenders to poke the ball home.
Five minutes before the break, Greece did manage to get the ball in the net but the flag was raised.
Half-time: Greece 0 – Czech Republic 2
Greece tried to get the equaliser in the final minutes but failed, so now need to beat Russia to have any chance of staying in the tournament.
The Czech players consoled their goalkeeper; Cech’s mistake didn’t matter, thanks to the two early goals.
Final score: Greece 1 – Czech Republic 2
1-Kostas Chalkias; 5-Kyriakos Papadopoulos, 21-Kostas Katsouranis, 20-Jose Holebas, 15-Vasilis Torosidis; 2-Giannis Maniatis, 10-Giorgos Karagounis, 16-Giorgios Fotakis; 22-Konstantinos Fortounis, 7-Georgios Samaras, 14-Dimitris Salpingidis.
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