The Outcome of Group-A

With the group evenly poised going into the final day, it was all to play for in the final day of Group A. Group favorites Russia took on 2004 winners Greece knowing that Russia would go through with a draw/win. The other game saw host nation Poland take on Czech Republic with only 1 point separating the 2 sides.

Russia v/s Greece: Greece entered knowing that anything less than a win would see them out of the tournament.

The game kicked off with a good quick start by Greece. Greece made their presence felt early on with a towering header by Katsouranis which saw the Russian keeper make a fantastic save. Minute’s later Russian striker Kerzahkov blasted a shot but just like most of his shots in this tournament the ball went wide of goal. With not many chances for either Greece or Russia, the came finally came into life when Greece captain Karagounis moved past the Russian defense and smashed the ball past the keeper to open the scoring and provide a life line to Greece just before the end of first half. Greece knew as of now they would be going through if they can hold onto their lead. Second half kicked off with Greece continuing from where they left off with coming close again. Russia were running out of options and Greece held onto their lead till the final minute and emerged deserved winners. The win saw Greece repeat their fairy tale story of 2004 when they came out of their group on the final day.

 

Poland v/s Czech: With the game evenly poised and both the teams knew that a loss could see them crash out of the tournament it was all to play for in this game. With Poland having the support of their home crowd behind them the pressure was on the host nation knowing that an early exit will be considered a massive failure.  The game kicked off with Poland on the front foot and testing Czech’s defense early on. With Czech missing their captain and creative flair in Rosicky the attacks were hard to come by and were dominated early on by Poland. With the score still goal less at HT, both Czech and Poland knew they had to find a goal seeing the outcome at HT in the other fixture. Second half kicked off with a good early start by Czech Republic with their full backs making good attacking runs troubling the Polish defense. The goal finally came in the 72nd minute with Czech midfielder Jiracek opening the scoring and what could turn out to be a vital goal in deciding this group’s outcome. The game ended 1-0 to Czech and saw them qualify to the Q/F by topping their group.

The group ended with Czech topping their group with 6 points and Greece behind them with 4 points beating Russia on the basis of Head-2-Head results since both teams were on equal points.

-Shikharr Chandra

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