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
”This was a big goal for me, and it’s great for the team,”
Pilar said. ”I went in very hard in to meet Gebre Selassie’s cross
and got to the ball with my knee.”
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.
The result put the Czech Republic’s bid to qualify for the
quarterfinals back on track after an opening 4-1 loss to Russia in
Group A. It was a setback for Greek hopes, however, after a 1-1
draw with co-host Poland.
The Greeks, who played without two key central defenders, nearly
scored another in the 41st, but the header from Giorgos Fotakis was
ruled out for offside.
”We conceded a silly goal and that gave the Greeks hope but we
fought well and kept the victory,” Czech Republic coach Michal
Bilek said. ”The Greeks really tried to score at the end, but our
defense held very well.”
Greece recovered well after its 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.”
Despite the defensive problems, Santos stuck with his attacking
lineup of three forwards. The strategy helped the Greeks dominate
the second half.
Before Euro 2012, Greece’s defense had been an important feature
in its campaign to qualify, conceding just five goals in 10
”We conceded so few goals in qualifying, and this happens to
us,” Santos said. ”We did find our balance but could not get a
Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky came off with a foot injury
in the second half.
The Czech fans booed coach Bilek at the start of the match, but
the team soon rebounded from its defeat. 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.