WROCLAW: The Czech Republic revived their ambitions of reaching the quarter-finals at Euro 3012 after a fragile 2-1 win over Greece in Group A. The result left both teams still in sight of qualifying.
The Czechs would have become the first side eliminated from the finals had they lost but they made a perfect start, scoring twice inside the opening six minutes at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw.
First Tomas Hubschman’s defence-splitting pass was converted into a goal by striker Petr Jiracek then Gebre Selassie found space down the right and his resulting cross was turned into the back of the net by Vaclav Pilar’s knee from close-range, despite the attention of two defenders.
Greece thought they had pulled a goal back just before the break, but Giorgos Fotakis’ header was harshly ruled out for offside. However, eight minutes into the second half Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech gifted Greece a goal after fumbling a Georgios cross and Theofanis Gekas scored easily.
The second match of the day in Group A between Poland and Russia finished 1-1 so all four nations still have hope they can reach the quarter-finals. Russia top the standings on four points followed by Czech Republic on three points, Poland on two points and Greece on one point.
Czech Republic coach Michal Bilek hopes that captain Tomas Rosicky will be available for the conclusion of their Group A campaign after being forced off at half-time by an Achilles injury.
Greece coach Fernando Santos felt his side had paid the price for being unable to field their first-choice centre-backs through injury and suspension.
He said: “We knew they would start quickly but failed to react. Our defence had conceded only four goals in 10 competitive game and now we have conceded three in just two games. Unfortunately the first 10 minutes really cost us.
“It was difficult to come back, we did everything possible to get an equaliser but we didn’t make it.”
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