UEFA 2012 European Championship : Day 10
Sunday 17 June 20122
Poland (0) 0 – 1 (0) Czech Republic
Russia (0) 0 – 1 (1) Greece
Saturday saw the final round of Group games get underway and has the games kicking-off at the same time to try and stop any ‘collusion’ in terms of the results. Going into the last Group A fixtures, Russia and the Czech Republic sat in the qualifying positions. I opted to watch the game between Poland and the Czech Republic in the belief that there was more ‘on the line’ for these two teams. As in their previous fixtures, Poland started well and looked the more positive of the teams, with chances falling to Robert Lewandowski, Ludovic Obraniak and Sebastian Boenisch. The Czech Republic were more cautious taking the tact that a draw in both games on the night would see them through. However, with half-time approaching events in Warsaw shifted the whole Group. From a throw-in, the Greek captain Karagounis found himself through on goal and he finished sweetly to put Greece 1-0 up at half-time. If results stayed that way, it would have seen Russia and Greece through. The Czech Republic and Poland knew that they had to win now to progress. In the second-half in Wroc?aw, the pressure seemed to get to Poland and the Czech Republic now looked stronger. Then on seventy two minutes, Milan Baroš drove into the Polish box where his pass found Petr Jirá?ek, who slipped inside one defender before slotting the ball home. As the scores stood, the Czech Republic would top the group and Greece would edge out Russia on their head-to-head record. Poland had to score two to go through and never really looked capable of doing so as they became increasingly frustrated and gave away a string of niggly fouls. However, they nearly stopped the Czech Republic going through as in the last minute Blaszczykowski had an effort cleared off the line. The Czech Republic held on, as did Greece in Warsaw. Incredibly, Russia who had destroyed the Czech Republic 4-1 in the opening game were out and Greece as in 2004 had sprung a surprise.
So one of the co-hosts in the shape of Poland had gone and also the first managerial departure as Polish coach Franciszek Smuda said po?egnanie. They say ‘what goes around, comes around’ – have the actions of the Russian fans in this tournament caught up with their national team?