Euro 2012: Czechs bounce back with victory over Greece
Czechs overcome loss in opener and avenge 2004 Euro semi-final defeat with 2-1 win over Greece.
The Czech Republic kept alive their hopes of reaching the Euro 2012 quarter-finals as they beat Greece 2-1 in their Group A clash here on Tuesday.
Victory not only took the Czechs onto three points with a game to come against co-hosts Poland but was also revenge for their defeat by the Greeks in the Euro 2004 semi-finals. The Greeks — who went on to win the Euro 2004 title — are stuck on just a point with Russia, who beat the Czechs 4-1 in their opener, to come.
The Czechs made a dream start scoring twice in the opening six minutes with Jiri Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar scoring. Greece threatened to get back into the match seven minutes into the second-half when Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech spilled the ball straight to Fanis Gekas and he tucked the ball away.
The Czechs made a dream start as they took advantage of the out of sorts second choice Greek centreback pairing of Kostas Katsouranis and Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who had replaced the injured Avraam Padadopoulos and the suspended Socratis Papastathopoulos.
First Jiracek was picked out in the third minute by Thomas Hubschman with a superb ball over the top which the Wolfsburg dynamo ran on to and fired in a shot that gave Greek 'keeper Costas Chalkias no chance.
Chalkias was at fault for the second goal three minutes later as he failed to cut out Theo Gebre Selassie's ball from the byline and with the two Greek central defenders slow to react Pilar slid in to put the ball in the net for his second goal of the tournament.
Chalkias’s unhappy afternoon ended prematurely when he had to go off injured in the 22nd minute and was replaced by Michalis Sapikis. He proved himself, though, as he made two fine stops in the first-half from Rosicky and Jiracek.
However, in the second-half Greece were rewarded when Cech collided with Tomas Sivok going for a cross spilled the ball and Fanis Gekas was on hand to tuck it into the net.