Czech Republic beats Greece 2-1 at Euro 2012
Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar scored in the first six minutes to
give the Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Greece on Tuesday at the
Jiracek shot the ball past Greece goalkeeper Costas Chalkias in
the third minute after a pass from Tomas Hubschmann sliced through
the Greek defense. Three minutes later, Pilar scored his second
goal of the tournament, beating Greek defenders to a ball sent
across the goal by Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre
Substitute Fanis Gekas pulled one back for Greece in 53rd minute
with a tap in after Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech spilled the ball
and bumped into defender Tomas Sivok.
”It was my mistake. Who else is there to blame?” the Chelsea
goalkeeper said. ”I’d been playing well till then, and I was
determined I wouldn’t let any in.”
The Greeks, who played the Group A match without two key central
defenders, nearly scored another in the 41st, but the header from
Giorgos Fotakis was called back for offside.
The Greeks recovered well after their disastrous start, but lost
another player when Chalkias limped off the field in the 23rd
minute. He was replaced by Michalis Sifakis.
”This was another game with a very bad start for us,” said
Greece coach Fernando Santos, whose side had trailed after 17
minutes of the draw with Poland. ”We were chasing the game for the
whole match after going two down so quickly.”
Greece’s defense had been an important feature of its campaign
to reach Euro 2012, conceding just five goals in 10 games.
”We conceded so few goals in qualifying, and this happens to
us,” Santos said. ”We did find our balance but could not get a
Despite the defensive problems, Santos stuck with his attacking
lineup of three forwards. The strategy helped the Greeks dominate
the second half.
Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky came off with an injured
Achilles’ tendon in the second half, and team officials said it was
too early to say whether it would rule him out for the Czech’s last
group game against Poland.
The Czech fans booed coach Michal Bilek at the start of the
match, but the team rebounded from its opening 4-1 loss to Russia
in Group A. The Czechs also avenged their semifinal loss to Greece
at Euro 2004.
Czech Republic: Petr Cech, Theodor Gebre Selassie, Tomas Sivok,
Michal Kadlec, David Limbersky, Tomas Hubschman, Jaroslav Plasil,
Petr Jiracek, Tomas Rosicky (Daniel Kolar, 46, Frantisek Rajtoral,
89), Vaclav Pilar, Milan Baros (Tomas Pekhart, 64).
Greece: Costas Chalkias (Michalis Sifakis, 23), Yiannis
Maniatis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Vassilis Torosidis, Jose Holebas,
Giorgos Karagounis, Giorgos Fotakis (Fanis Gekas, 46), Costas
Katsouranis, Costas Fortounis (Costas Mitroglou, 71st), Georgios
Samaras, Dimitris Salpingidis.