Saturday 25 November 2017

Euro 2012: Poles dumped out by Jiracek

Czech Republic 1 Poland 0

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 eliminated.

Poland knew nothing less than a win would see them reach the knockout stages at the expense of the Czech Republic, who also needed three points to guarantee their qualification for the last eight.

In a frenetic start, Poland midfielder Ludovic Obraniak's free-kick from a narrow angle hit the side netting while Robert Lewandowski should have done better after slicing horribly wide with a decent sight at goal.

It seemed only a matter of time before the Czech Republic defence would be breached and goalkeeper Petr Cech had to be at his best to push away Sebastian Boenisch's dipping 30-yard effort.

The Czechs ended the half on a high. Milan Baros, after beating the offside trap, failed to control David Limbersky's chip over the defence while Pilar's powerful strike from the edge of the area was gathered by Polish 'keeper Przemyslaw Tyton at the second attempt.

Spurred into action after the break, the Czechs responded positively, dominating possession in the early stages of the second half but failing to create any clear cut chances. They were eventually rewarded for their persistence in the 72nd minute, however, Baros running through on goal before sliding the ball to Jiracek, who cut past Boenisch and coolly slotted past Tyton.

Poland head coach Franciszek Smuda threw caution to the wind, bringing on Pawel Brozek and Adrian Mierzejewski immediately after but they failed to test Cech as the Czech Republic defended stoutly.

Czech Republic: Cech; Gebre Selassie, Kadlec, Sivok, Limbersky; Jiracek (Rajtoral 84), Hubschman, Plasil, Pilar (Rezek 88); Kolar; Baros (Pekhart 90).

Poland: Tyton; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Blaszczykowski, Dudka, Polanski (Grosicki 56), Obraniak (Brozek 73); Murawski (Mierzejewski 73); Lewandowski.

Referee: C Thomson (Scotland)

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