UEFA 2012 European Championship: Day 6
Wednesday 13 June 2012
So with less than a week gone, how are the “alleged” racist and violence statistics stacking up? Well before a ball was kicked, there were ‘monkey’ chants aimed at the Dutch during an open training session from some Polish ‘fans’. The Russians then grabbed the headlines when in the opening game against the Czech Republic, there were “allegations” of right-wing banners being displayed, ‘monkey’ chants directed towards Czech fullback Gebre Selassie and they completed their evenings work by beating up some stewards. Spain got on the scoreboard with a section of ‘fans’ racially abusing Italian forward Mario Balotelli. The players have tried to do their bit as well, as Italy striker Antonio Cassano says sorry for comments he made about homosexuals in a news conference on Tuesday. But you can’t keep the Russians down can you and yesterday they upped the anti by marching to the stadium on ‘Russia Day’ and running battles ensued with Polish ‘fans’ and the police. Impressive stuff from the Russians – can’t wait for the World Cup in 2018. Still think that was a good decision FIFA?
Greece (0) 1 – 2 (2) Czech Republic
Well the Greeks showed once again a distinct dislike for the first-half of a game in these Championships. Having barely had time to take a first of coffee and get myself comfy on the sofa, the Czech Republic were two goals up. Just three minutes into the game, Tomas Hubschman threaded a ball directly through the middle of the Greece defence and Petr Jiracek scored, despite Chalkias in the Greek goal getting a hand to it. With only six minutes gone, Tomas Rosicky played the ball wide to Theodor Gebre Selassie on the right side of the area, who crossed for Pilar to bundle home despite the attention of two defenders. Replays showed that once again Chalkias in the Greek goal got a hand to it. The day got worse for the veteran keeper when he had be substituted on twenty three minutes after an injury. The substitute keeper Sifakis was soon in action when he saved well from a long-range effort from Rosicky. The Czech Republic had dominated the first-half, but got a break just before half-time when a Fotakis header was ruled out for offside, which replays suggested was the wrong decision. As with the game against Poland, Greece were much better in the second-half and were given a lifeline on fifty three minutes when Petr Cech fumbled a shot as he tangled with his own defender Tomas Sivok, allowing Gekas an easy goal. However, for all their possession the Greeks didn’t create any golden opportunities and the Czech Republic held on to win 2-1.
Poland (0) 1 – 1 (1) Russia
Russia knew that a win against Poland would take them through to the Quarter-Finals. In the white hot atmosphere of the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland gave as good as they got and created some excellnet early opportunities. First up was a brilliant curling free-kick from Ludovic Obraniak which found the head of Sebastian Boenisch, but Russian keeper Malafeev’s reaction save kept it out. Then Lewandowski had a long range effort which drifted over and finally had an attempt from Polanski ruled out for offside. However, the Russians were always dangerous and on thirty seven minutes they struck. Arshavin swung in a free-kick and poor Polish marking allowed Dzagoev the chance to glance it in and give the Russians a 1-0 half-time lead. The second-half was a fantastically open affair with end-to-end action. From one of these breaks Poland scored one of the goals of the tournament as Blaszczykowski curled in an equaliser on fifty seven minutes. Malafeev made vital saves for Russia, whilst at the other end, their forwards sometimes over elaborated as chances were spurned. At ninety minutes the game was 1-1 and Poland had more than matched their neighbours.
Group A then goes to the final round of matches, with all four sides still able to qualify and the following permutations:
- Russia need at least a point from their final game against Greece to qualify;
- Russia will still qualify if they lose and the Czech Republic draw with Poland;
- If Russia lose and either Poland or Czech Republic win then Russia are out;
- Czech Rep need to defeat Poland to qualify;
- The Czechs can also qualify if they draw against Poland and Russia win or draw;
- Poland need to defeat Czech Rep to qualify;
- Greece will qualify if they defeat Russia.
My irritations of the Finals so far? Firstly the ‘10…9…8’ etc countdown to kickoff and secondly Jamie Carragher on ITV. Having watched the Liverpool player forget that he was a guest and not the host in interrogating Patrick Vieira after the France v England game, last night he constantly went on about his family. Who wants to hear about ‘Ar Sharon’…?