Two early goals against Greece get Czechs off the mark in Group A
Greece 1-2 Czech Republic
Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw
Tuesday 12 June 2012
Czech Republic kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2012 after they recorded an impressive 2-1 win over Greece in Wroclaw on Tuesday night.
After being thrashed by Russia in their opening game, the Czechs knew they had to get something from this game if they were to stand any chance of staying in the competition.
They got off to the best possible start scoring two goals in the opening six minutes through Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar.
Even though Chelsea keeper Petr Cech made a major blunder in the second half when his failure to deal with a cross allowed Theofanis Gekas to put the ball into an empty net, Czech Republic held on to maintain their hope of reaching the next phase of the tournament.
This was a disappointing display from a Greece side who had impressed in their opening game against the host nation Poland and now have to win their last group game against Russia if they are to progress.
Czech Republic knew a defeat would make them the first team to be knocked out but they quick off the mark opening the scoring after just three minutes.
Tomas Hubschman played a superb ball into the path of Jiracek who kept all his composure to fire a left foot shot past Greece keeper Kostas Chalkias.
Things got even better for the Czechs when they added a second just three minutes later.
Theodor Gebre Selassie burst clear down the right hand side and his cross picked out Pilar who beat two Greece defenders to knock the ball home from close-range.
Greece thought they had pulled a goal back just before half-time when Giorgos Fotakis' header flew past Cech, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
They did manage to get on the scoresheet on 53 minutes when the ever reliable Cech produced a major mistake when he fumbled a low cross from Georgios Samaras.
The ball fell to Gekas who had the easy task of slotting the ball into an empty net.
But Czech Republic held on to record a crucial victory and now face a massive last game against Poland on Saturday night, which could determine which team will reach the knockout stages.
1 Chalkias (Sifakis, 23), 2 Maniatis, 5 K Papadopoulos, 15 Torosidis, 20 Holebas, 10 Karagounis, 16 Fotakis (Gekas, 46), 21 Katsouranis, 22 Fortounis (Mitroglou, 71), 7 Samaras, 14 Salpingidi
1 Cech, 2 Gebre Selassie, 3 Kadlec, 6 Sivok, 8 Limbersky, 10 Rosicky (Kolar, 46), 13 Plasil, 14 Pilar, 17 Hubschman, 19 Jiracek, 15 Baros (Pekhart, 64)
Referee: S Lannoy (FRA)