Goal.com - Home

thumbnail Hello,
 
Played
June 16, 2012 7:45 PM BST
Stadion Miejski — Wrocław
Referee:‬ C. Thomson‎
Attendance:‬ 41480‎
 
 
Top of the Match
Petr Jirácek
Petr Jirácek
Czech Rep.
Petr Jirácek
Petr Jirácek
Czech Rep.
Flop of the Match
Rafael Murawski
Rafael Murawski
Poland
Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski
Poland

Czech Republic 1-0 Poland: Jiracek sends co-hosts crashing out

The Wolfsburg man provided a rare moment of class in a scrappy, hard-fought game, putting his side into the quarter-finals as Group A winners

By Daniel Edwards

Petr Jiracek & Milan Baros, Czech v Poland (EURO 2012)
Getty Images
Petr Jiracek broke Polish hearts in Wroclaw, netting the only goal of a tense Group A encounter to secure a 1-0 win and last-eight berth for Czech Republic.

The Wolfsburg midfielder was clinical in converting Milan Baros' pass 72 minutes into the game after Poland had been caught on the break and left wide open at the back. The Czechs held on to record all three points, and qualify along with Greece for the next stage.

With both sides needing a win to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals, the game started at a frantic pace with plenty of goalmouth action. Poland were the first team to go close, when Dariusz Dudka's improvised overhead kick flew into the side netting with the home crowd ready to celebrate the opener.

CZECH MATE
Michal Bilek's men are on to the last eight after surviving the Group of Shocks
The Czechs also went close through Vaclav Pilar in the opening stages, when the midfielder fluffed a first-time effort having been set up brilliantly by Theodor Gebre Selassie. It was the hosts, however, who dominated proceedings in the first half. Ludovic Obraniak was at the heart of the attack, and his delicate ball almost released Jakub Blaszczykowski on the left hand side but Petr Cech reacted well to close the play down.

It was all Poland at that point, with the Czech side struggling to string two passes together in the face of fierce pressing. An off-balance Robert Lewandowski should at least have hit the target with a shot that veered wide in a dangerous position, while Sebastian Boenisch forced another save from Cech with a decent long-range effort and Marcin Wasilewski directed a tame header into the Chelsea man's arms.

The Czechs' best chance of the first half fell to Milan Baros. The ex-Liverpool striker timed his run perfectly to spring the offside trap, but hesitated and could not control a decent lofted pass from deep as the danger passed. The tempo from both teams fell towards the end of the first 45 minutes, not helped by a fierce storm that passed over Wroclaw bringing with it a torrential downpour as the teams went in still level at half-time.

A Greece goal against Russia in first-half injury time left Group A on a knife-edge, with both Czech Republic and Poland facing elimination if the scores stayed the same at the final whistle. Michal Bilek's men probed early after the restart, but despite some decent possession around the opposition area could not find a way through the determined hosts' defence.

David Limbersky had a half chance to open the scoring as he powered into the box, but his shot could only find the side-netting once more as the game remained in an uneasy deadlock. The reticence of the Polish team to push forward, meanwhile, was baffling, as only a win would put the home side into the next round no matter how events in the other game finished. The home fans looked to Kamil Grosicki to make the difference, the Sivasspor winger entering just under 15 minutes into the second half in place of Eugen Polanski to add a new attacking dimension to the Polish team.
MATCH FACTS | Czech Rep. 1-0 Poland

 Shots
 On Target
 Possession
 Total Passes
 Bookings
 Red cards
CZECHS
12
5
58.5%
457
3
0
POLAND
15
6
41.5%
311
5
0


The change did not translate into extra potency in the final third, however, and numerous fouls from the hosts ruined their rhythm and handed their rivals the initiative. The Czechs had several chances from free kicks in dangerous areas, but failed to take advantage and net the goal that would take them into the next round. One of those dead-balls forced a reaction save from Przemyslaw Tyton, but the keeper was attentive and punched clear under heavy pressure.

Baros was the next man to test Tyton, who was more than comfortable in getting down to hold a speculative long-range shot. With 20 minutes left on the clock, however, it was the Czech Republic who took the advantage. A slick counter left Poland exposed at the back, and Baros slipped to Petr Jiracek who did well to turn onto his right foot and coolly hit past Tyton.

The goal was a mortal blow for Franciszek Smuda's men, who looked unable to recompose themselves and fight for a now unlikely victory. Baros momentarily thought he had sewn up the three points when he rounded Tyton, but the play was called back for a marginal offside and the Czechs stayed one goal up. The Polish fans sang their hearts out right to the end but, despite a near-miss for Wasilewski right at the death, their efforts were in vain as the hosts bade farewell to the competition.

The central European nation therefore finish top of Group A with six points. Poland, meanwhile lie bottom of the pile and crash out on home soil, having picked up just two points and failing to win in their fleeting Euro 2012 campaign.


Czech Rep.

1
Petr Cech
Goalkeeper
2.50
23
3.00
24
Michal Kadlec
Defender
2.00
6
Tomas Sivok
Defender
2.50
8
David Limbersky
Defender
12′
1.50
8
Jaroslav Plasil
Midfielder
87′
2.50
8
Václav Pilař
Midfielder
88′
3.00
3
Tomas Hubschmann
Midfielder
2.50
26
Daniel Kolar
Midfielder
2.00
19
Petr Jirácek
Midfielder
72′ 84′
3.50
-
Milan Baros
Striker
72′ 91′
2.50

Poland

3.00
21
2.00
17
1.50
27
2.50
15
1.50
26
1.50
5
Dariusz Dudka
Midfielder
2.50
8
Eugen Polanski
Midfielder
48′ 56′
1.50
-
1.00
-
2.00
16
2.00
9

Substitutes

16
Jan Lastuvka
Goalkeeper
 - 
1
 - 
17
Marek Suchy
Defender
 - 
4
 - 
-
 - 
7
Tomas Rosicky
Midfielder
 - 
11
 - 
7
 - 
-
 - 
-
Jan Rezek
Midfielder
88′
 - 
9
 - 
-
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
1
 - 
-
 - 
22
 - 
35
 - 
14
 - 
-
 - 
-
Maciej Rybus
Midfielder
 - 
10
 - 
27
Rafal Wolski
Midfielder
2.00
-
 - 
9
 - 
-

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Fernando Torres Fernando Torres
Striker
Chelsea
3 0
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
3 0
Mario Gomez Mario Gomez
Striker
Fiorentina
3 0
Mario Balotelli Mario Balotelli
Striker
Milan
3 0
Mario Mandzukic Mario Mandzukic
Striker
Bayern
3 0