Belgium’s narrow victory over Algeria and Russia’s draw with South Korea mean that it’s still all to play for in Group H.
So Belgium became the surprise team of the tournamnet as most people thought they would be; surprised at themselves though, for trailing Algeria at the end of the first half of their opening game in Belo Horizonte.
Algeria might feel disappointed after being in front for so long but in all honesty, they can’t be surprised they lost.
After an uneventful first-half, the game between Russia and South Korea in Cuiaba looked like it was heading for a nil-nil draw.
Thanks to the substitutes, Russia and South Korea managed to score a goal each in the second-half and share the points.
Belgium could be the surprise team of the tournament but with so many people saying it, perhaps it wouldn’t be such a surprise after all.
More realistically, they’ll probably melt like chocolate in the heat while Fabio Capello steers the Russians out of Group H with the South Koreans showing that frantic running can get the better of skill and make the surprise team look rather unsurprising.
The fourth team is Algeria, who would be the surprise team of the tournament if they did anything more than get on the first plane back home.
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.
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