Russia and Poland play out 1-1 draw in Group A
Alan Dzagoev scored his third goal of the European Championship
and Jakub Blaszczykowski tied it in the second half as Russia and
Poland drew 1-1 Tuesday.
The match was marred before kickoff by fighting between
hooligans from both countries, leaving several people injured as
thousands of Russian fans marched to celebrate the Russia Day
Dzagoev darted past defender Lukasz Piszczek in the 37th minute
and sent a glancing header beyond goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton after
a curling free kick from Andrei Arshavin.
But Poland was rewarded for its attacking intent in the 57th
when Blaszczykowski cut in from the right and sent a searing
left-foot drive into the far corner of the goal.
“I think we deserve praise because all of us put a lot into this
match,” Blaszczykowski said. “The tactics we set up before the
match we carried out 100 percent.”
The result left Russia at the top of Group A with four points
but also kept alive Poland’s chances of qualifying for the
“We’re still in the tournament, so with this point a win in our
final match puts us into the knockout stage,” Blaszczykowski
Police said 10 people were injured in fighting before the match;
seven Poles, two Russians and one German. Polish police also fired
rubber bullets and tear gas at a group of young Poles who attacked
them with glass bottles.
“To be honest, I haven’t seen or heard anything and nor have the
players,” Russia coach Dick Advocaat said. “I don’t know what has
The march to the stadium by thousands of Russian fans was seen
as a provocation by many Poles, who have long had tense relations
The two countries share a difficult history, including decades
of control by Moscow over Poland during the Cold War. Many Poles
felt the Polish authorities should not have allowed the Russians to
march as a group in Warsaw given the historical wounds.
Russia’s football federation pleaded with its fans to behave
after video emerged online of supporters beating stewards at the
Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw during the match against the Czech
Republic, warning that more trouble could cost the team points.
UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russian
federation following the trouble in Wroclaw.
On the field, Russia’s rampant attack in the opening 4-1 win
over the Czechs was largely muzzled by a well-organized Polish
defense. At the other end, Robert Lewandowski was a constant
“When we went 1-0 up, I thought we’d get more space like we did
again the Czech Republic, but that didn’t happen,” Advocaat said.
“We lost the ball too fast when we were going forward and they
could counter. We left the field too open.”
Earlier Tuesday, the Czechs played themselves back into Group A
contention by scoring two early goals and hanging on to beat Greece
2-1, meaning all four teams can still qualify.
As it did in its opening 1-1 draw with Greece, Poland started
strongly, but this time had to wait nearly an hour before finally
converting a chance.
Eugen Polanski thought he had put Poland ahead in the 18th
minute after he rounded off a slick passing move by shooting past
Vyacheslav Malafeev, but his effort was ruled offside.
Despite the Polish pressure, Russia remained dangerous at the
other end and gradually began to assert itself as the first half
Tyton rushed off his line and dived at Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s
feet to deny the Russia forward a shooting chance in the 10th
minute. Kerzhakov then headed wide after a cross from Arshavin, and
the attacking pair switched roles two minutes later when Arshavin
barely failed to get on the end of a cross from the right.
But Poland again started strongly in the second half as
Lewandowski ran into the penalty area, but Malafeev forced him wide
and blocked his shot with his legs. Lewandowski came close again
when he nearly connected to a cross from Obraniak, but Malafeev
again beat him to the ball.
Poland coach Franciszek Smuda tried to press home the advantage
by replacing defensive midfielder Dariusz Dudka with more
attack-minded Adrian Mierzejewski in the 73rd minute, but the
Russia defense held firm.
Poland: Przemyslaw Tyton, Sebastian Boenisch, Marcin Wasilewski,
Damien Perquis, Lukasz Piszczek, Dariusz Dudka (Adrian
Mierzejewski, 74), Eugen Polanski (Adam Matuszczyk, 85), Ludovic
Obraniak (Pawel Brozek, 90), Rafal Murawski, Jakub Blaszczykowski,
Russia: Vyacheslav Malafeev, Alexander Anyukov, Alexei
Berezutski, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Shirokov, Igor
Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Andrei Arshavin, Alexander Kerzhakov
(Roman Pavlyuchenko, 70), Alan Dzagoev (Marat Izmailov, 80).