WROCLAW: Russia, true to coach Dick Advocaat’s insistence on taking the game to the opposition, thundered out a warning to the rest of the Euro 2012 field as they thumped the Czech Republic 4-1 in the ‘other’ Group A tie in Wroclaw on the opening day of Euro 2012.
Apart from a brief spell after half-time, much of the Czech play was as colourless as their white shirts but the fresh, eager approach play of the Russians would have proved irresistible against far more resilient opposition. Two-goal Alan Dzogaev established himself as the tournament’s initial top scorer.
Advocaat, who steps down after the Euro 2012 finals, had said before the game that the “attacking way” was the style which suited his players best and tournament pressures would not persuade him to change his approach.
An arrowing counter-attack was climaxed with Aleksandr Kerzhakov sending a dipping header against keeper Petr Cech’s left-hand post. The ball ricocheted out but perfectly placed for Dzagoev to drive home.
Russian skipper Andriy Arshavin may have had a poor time of it during his latter Engoish spell with Arsenal but he was back at his most incisive as the Russian attacking continued to flow forward. In the 24th minute he delivered an angled pass through the heart of the Czech defence and, with Cech slow to read the danger, Roman Shirikov darted in behind the defence to clip the ball over the goalkeeper for goal No2.
The Czechs forced their way back into the game by raising the tempo after half-time. Vaclav Pilar pulled one goal back when he skipped, unnoticed,through the heart of a leaden-footed Russian defence. But that jolt prompted the Russians into rregaining their match focus. Dzagoev scored a second goal – to become the tournament’s early top scorer – and substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko marked his arrival by forging a path through two tackles before beating Czech on his near post.
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