Russia's Greek Tragedy & Poland's Czechmate


Greece has improbably rebounded from two poor performances to open Euro 2012 and defeated Russia to both advance to the quarterfinals of the competition and send Russia home. The Russians needed only a draw to go through and would have also progressed in the event of a draw in Group A's other match, but the Czech Republic's win over Poland knocked them out of the competition.

Giorgos Karagounis and Greece rekindled the spirit of 2004 as they turned Group A upside down. Karagounis' winner - on the night he equalled a national record by earning his 120th cap - came completely against the run of play on the stroke of half-time at Warsaw's National Stadium.

The first half of the match was mostly uneventful, with Greece surprisingly sitting back a bit even though only a win would send them through. Perhaps they knew Russia would be wasteful, or perhaps they only know one way to play, but in any event Fernando Santos' tactics turned out to be 100 percent spot on.

But no-one could argue Greece did not deserve their victory at the final whistle, with 2004 hero Karagounis denied a blatant penalty - and picking up a booking that ruled him out of the next match. Russia, who had thrashed Czech Republic 4-1 in their opening game, barely tested goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis and were made to pay the price.

Petr Jiracek's second-half goal ensured the Czech Republic squeaked into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 as co-hosts Poland suffered an early exit. Outplayed for the majority of the first half, the Czechs were seemingly stung into action after Greece took a half-time lead against Russia in the other Group A game in Warsaw.

That result left Michal Bilek's men needing all three points to reach the last eight and after dominating the tempo after the interval, Jiracek's calm finish ensured they topped the group, with Russia and Poland the eliminated teams.

Russia 0 - 1 Greece


Poland 0 - 1 Czech Republic

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