'Czech Republic decided not to wait for miracles against Poland' - Cech

The Chelsea goalkeeper kept a clean sheet as his side defeated the co-hosts to reach the quarter-finals, and was delighted his team-mates kept their own fate in their own hands
Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech expressed delight that his side kept their fate in their own hands by defeating Poland 1-0 on Saturday to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

The Czechs started the day looking like they would need just a point to reach the last eight, but as Greece took the lead against Russia on the stroke of half-time it meant that victory over Poland became imperative.

 Mark Smith
 Czech Republic Expert
It was an excellent performance from the Czechs - the first 20 minutes aside - they knew the Polish would tire and took full advantage in the second half.

Petr Cech was very composed and exuded confidence in opening exchanges, despite the howler from the Greece game just days earlier. The Czech Republic are really starting to grow into the tournament and ran out deserved group winners in the end.
Petr Jiracek scored the all-important goal on 72 minutes, and Cech, who had made an uncharacteristic blunder in the previous match against the Greeks, was pleased it meant they no longer had to rely on results elsewhere.

"We started badly and let the occasion get to us a little bit," the Chelsea shot-stopper told reporters after the game. "The home side capitalised on our mistakes.

"But with time we got better. We created chances and then scored a deserved goal.

"We knew the result [of Greece v Russia]. They told us and we could see it on a screen, but we focused on ourselves, decided not to wait for miracles and to score ourselves instead."

The Czechs ultimately ended up topping Group A, meaning they progressed to the next round alongside second-placed Greece.

They will meet the runners-up from Group B - which is still undecided ahead of the final matchday - in the quarter-finals.