Game in a sentence
An open yet frustrating game between Poland and The Czech Republic ends 1-0 for the top-of-the-group Czechs, a side who many wrote off at the start of the tournament.
- Like in their opener against Greece, Poland dominated the match in the early going and despite getting plenty of chances inside the box, they were highly wasteful connecting with just three of their ten attempts.
- The Czechs looked weak in the early going when defending set pieces and tracking the runs of Sebastian Boenisch and Eugen Polanski, but thanks to some heroic displays by Tomas Hubschman, the Czechs grabbed control of the game.
- Poland’s passing looked very lethal and opened up the Czechs, but they soon looked fatigued and played individualistic which led to lost possession and a decline in passing and possession.
- The Czech Republic started out the game by trying to expose the right flank, but Boenisch and Perquis shut them down. The attack then moved to the right flank where they got more attempts.
- Tomas Rosicky was missed as the Czech Republic missed his presence in the center, the one area where goal scoring opportunities were lackluster.
- Just as halftime approached, Greece, who were playing Russia, scored just before halftime making it 1-0. The Czechs had to score and win in order to progress. Michal Bilek must have told his players that the next forty-five minutes would make or break the squad’s chances of playing football beyond June 16th.
- The second forty-five continued where it left off with the Czechs peppering Przemyslaw Tyton’s goal, but there was still no end product despite five shots with two on target from the start of the second half until the seventy-first minute.
- Finally after 72 minutes, Petr Jiracek grabbed the first tally of the game and his second of the Euros after some superb footwork and a quick, accurate finish after a beautiful play by Tomas Hubschman who won the ball back in his own half before playing it to Milan Baros who found the Wolfsburg midfielder for a strike through (surprise, surprise) the left flank.
- It was a goal waiting to happen after a good forty minutes of Czech control, but Poland will still feel as if they were hard done by after yet another fast start.
- Franciszek Smuda made two changes starting in the seventy-third minute, bringing on Pawel Brozak for Ludovic Obraniak and Adrian Mierzejewski for Rafal Murawski to instill some more stamina into a seemingly tired squad, but they still didn’t produce a whole lot.
- The best chance for Poland came late into added time when Michal Kadlec made a tournament saving goal line clearance. It was the perfect ending to a very solid showing by the Bayer Leverkusen defender.
- In the end, it was the Czechs progressing as Group A winners with the hosts Poland going home despite being a reasonably entertaining side to watch, but that’s football, it’s not always the most “attractive” teams who get through, it’s the ones who deserve it, and the Czechs deserved it tonight.
1. Tomas Hubschman
2. Michal Kadlec
3. Petr Jiracek