Euro 2012: Czechs Drub Greece; Poland Ties Russia
WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 12: Alan Dzagoev of Russia celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA EURO 2012 group A match between Poland and Russia at The National Stadium on June 12, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
The Czech Republic bounced back from a humiliating 4-1 opening-game loss to powerhouse Russia by drubbing Greece, 2-1, in Group A of the European Championship 2012 at Stadion Miejski.
At the National Stadium in Warsaw, co-host Poland forced Russia to a 1-1 draw after trailing for most parts of the game.
With the results, all four teams in Group A have a chance to advance to the quarterfinal round.
Russia leads Group A with four points and need a point against Greece (one point) to secure a berth in the last eight.
Poland, in third place with two points, needs to win its last game against second-running Czech Republic (three points) Saturday to advance.
Greece also has a chance to make it to the next round but it needs to beat Russia by an overwhelming score.
The game got off to the worst possible start for the Greeks as they trailed by two goals by the sixth minute.
Petr Jiracek put the Czech Republic ahead in the third minute as he fired home a pass by Tomas Hubschman, despite Greek keeper Kostas Chalkias getting a hand on his left-footed shot.
Vaclav Pilar netted the second goal for the Czechs with a low cross from Theodor Gebre Selassie in the sixth minute. Pilar almost made it 3-0 but his attempt went just wide of the left-hand post.
Substitute Theofanis Gekas capitalized on an error by Czech goalie Petr Cech with an empty net goal to cut the deficit to 2-1. Cech let the ball slip through his grasp after colliding with own defender Tomas Sivok, allowing Gekas to score.
"I must admit that I'm happy and felt relief that we have won. We had a fine start, the first 10 minutes were magnificent," Cech told goal.com.
Meanwhile, Jakub Blaszczykowski's strike in the 57th minute from an assist by Ludovic Obraniak enabled Poland to tie Russia.
Earlier Alan Dzagoev netted his third goal of the tournament in the 37th minute when he diverted Andrey Arshavin's precise free kick beyond Przemyslaw Tyton's reach.
You can't say there weren't warnings about Euro 2012. The tournament in Warsaw, Poland had barely begun when there were charges of racism and shocking video of Russian fans pummeling stadium security personnel. And the tension doesn't seem to be subsiding. Len Berman reports on the action not involving the matches
Euro 2012: Racism, Violence Continue to Dominate Tournament
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