Czechs and Greeks Advance to Euro 2012 Soccer Quarterfinals
Czech Republic and Greece posted crucial victories over separate rivals to advance to the quarterfinal stage of the European Championship 2012.
The Czechs defeated co-host Poland, 1-0, at the Stadion Miejski to top Group A with six points while Greece, the 2004 Euro champion, scored a major upset when it beat favorite Russia, 1-0, at the National Stadium to enter the last eight.
Czech Republic will face the runner-up in Group B while the Greeks could face Germany in the next round.
Midfielder Petr Jiracek scored the winning goal for the Czech when he converted a Milan Baros' pass in the 72nd minute.
Baros ran through on goal before sliding the ball to Jiracek, who cut past Sebastian Boenisch and calmly kicking his second goal of the event past goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
"We had a poor start but we gradually improved, started to create chances and finally, we deserved to score," Jiracek told goal.com.
The Czechs scored the win despite the absence of captain and playmaker Tomas Rosicky, who was sidelined with an Achilles injury.
"I think that probably we were too sure about winning this game. The Czechs played excellent football," Poland coach Franciszek Smuda said. "We had some opportunities before halftime, we didn't take advantage of them and we lost the game."
Meanwhile, midfielder Giorgos Karagounis sent a low shot under Russia goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev just before halftime to snap the Russians' 16-game unbeaten streak.
Karagounis, playing his national record-tying 120th international match, will miss the quarterfinals after getting a yellow card for diving.
The Greeks almost grabbed a two-goal lead but Giorgos Tzavelas' free kick over the Russian defense hit the top post.
Russia tried to rally but forward Alan Dzagoyev's header from a Andrei Arshavin cross drifted wide in the 84th minute.
"We did go forward, were very attacking. We played well, but you have to score goals," Russia coach Dick Advocaat told goal.com. "We did that in first game and despite all the possession today we didn't do that today."
Entering the game, Russia was the overwhelming favorite over Greece, having won its opening game over Czech Republic in overwhelming fashion, 4-1. But the Russians drew with Poland in their next game to keep the race in Group A wide open.
The dream is over for co-hosts Poland as they're knocked out of Euro 2012 by the Czech Republic in a 1-0 defeat. Shortly after the match finished Franciszek Smuda quit as team coach. Fans in Wroclaw left the stadium deflated and disappointed
Czechs through as they shatter Poland's dreams
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