Welcome, loyal readers, to the second Group A match in Euro 2012. We’re coming to you live from the Queen Vic in DC, to give you Arshavin and the Red Menace versus Petr Cech and the Velvet XI.
If we get half the fireworks of the second half of Greece-Poland, we’ll be having some fun here for certain.
Derek Rae and Kasey Keller are on hand at Wroclaw to paint the word pictures for ESPN if you’re watching along. Lineups and my minute-by-minute ramblings after the jump.
Russia: Malafeev; Anyukov, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Zhrikov; Denisov, Shriokov, Zyryanov; Arshavin, Kerzakhov, Dzagoev.
Czech Republic: Cech; Gebre Selassie, Kadlec, Hubnik, Sivok; Rezek, Plasil, Rosicky, Jiracek, Pilar; Baros.
TWEET! TWEET! Russia kick off, and a quick foul by the Czechs looses them for some possession around the box that’s quickly turned around.
3: Gebreselassie gets forward to produce a corner to the Czechs. Dick Advocaat mentions: 3.
Plasil’s corner causes some trouble, but the Czechs can’s pounce. The ensuing second corner is nicely punched away by Malefeev.
4: The Czechs work the ground, as Rosicky and Rezek both get fouled in quick succession.
Plasil works a nice dinked free kick that’s headed over the bar by Hubnik
7: And a nice move by the Czechs is ended by Milan Baros committing a foul
8: The Czechs have had a nice opening, while the Russians have been wasteful. Another nice passing move by the Czechs is put out for a throw.
9: Another excellent Czech passage at the right corner of Russia’s area is turned into a throw.
10: A foul by Rezek turns the ball back Russia’s way. Rezek and Gebre Selassie have been causing some serious problems for Russia down the right flank. A killer ball is all that’s really missing here.
12: A tantalizing ball from the left by Kadlec is met far post by Rezek, but it amounts to nothing. Rosicky steps up and blasts wide after the clearance , but Russia work the resulting possession into a throw.
13: Zhirkov works a ball to Arshavin, whose cross is charged down by Gebreselassie. Resulting corner headed across by Denisov, and worked back in by Dzagoev before Gebreselassie clears. From the throw, a nice one-two almost creates a Russian goal, but the shot is wide.
15: GOAL! Dzagoev! 1-0 Russia
Dzagoev works it wide; Kerzhakov heads the resultant cross off the post, and Dzagoev slams in from about the D.
17: And Russia celebrate the right way- with a flare on the pitch to stop play.
19: The Czechs continue to press, resulting in a Russian counter. Kerzhakov works to Dzagoev in TONS of space, but Cech convinces him to smash wide by cutting down the angle.
21: Baros gets a nice entry pass, but can only carry it to the byline before almost giving up a goal kick. The Czechs regain possession, before Pilar is fouled.
22: Pilar with an excellent cross that Zhirkov heads over at the far post for a Czech corner. Placil hits right to Malefeev.
24: GOAL! 2-0 Russia! Arshavin works it to Kerzhakov, who gets a touch onto Sherokov, who niftily chips the onrushing Cech. VERY nice move from the Russians, and a wonderful attacking run from Sherokov.
26: The Czechs get a move going, with Rosicky playing in Kadlec, but the fullback’s tame shot is all too easy for Malefeev.
27: Penalty shout for Russia denied by Webby, as a nice move sees Arshavin alone in the box. He’s barged down by Plasil, but the Lancashire cop deems it fair play.
28: Arshavin flashes a cross past Petr Cech’s goal, but no one is there to capitalize for Russia.
30: Arshavin barges over Gebreselassie down the right channel. FK to Czech. The FK is cleared out for a long shot by Pilar, which is blocked in the area. Czechs continue to press, resulting in Pilar hitting a tantalizing ball over Baros and into the arms of Malefeev.
32: Arshavin is causing the Czechs trouble every time he has it in the Czech final third. This time Hubnik clears his centering pass.
34: Arshavin works it to Sherokov, who passes to Zyrzanov. His low cross is met by Dzagoev, who blasts over under pressure. Nice attacking play from Russia. Kadlec gets a second to regroup after denying Dzagoev.
35: Pilar with a nice carry deep, but overcooks his final touch for a goal kick.
37: Denisov tries a diagonal ball for Zhirkov in the left channel, but Gebreselassie heads away for a throw. Russia now starting to strangle the game with possession, but in a nice way.
38: The Czechs thought they got away with one, but Baros was a mile offside.
39: Now it’s the Czechs wasteful of possession as they chase the Russian goals.
40: Pilar tries to work a one-two with Jiracek, but the latter’s entry pass is easily picked off before Baros is judged guilty of a foul.
42: Pilar tries to trigger a Czech counter, but the Russians clear for a throw.
43: Plasil commits a foul in a dangerous area, but the Russians take quick and pass it around. Czechs on the break, resulting in a stall of play.
44: Rosicky play Gebreselassie down the right channel, and the Right back gains a dubious corner off of the sliding Zhirkov. Plasil slips, and overhits the area.
45: Plasil slips a wonderful cross to Pilar, who heads down, but Malefeev is more than equal and catches easily.
45+1: Kazhakov works in a tough cross, but the Czechs calmly pass back to Cech who clears long.
45+2: Jivacek blasts high and wide from about 25 yards out on the left channel.
PEEP PEEP PEEP! HALF TIME- Russia 2-0 Czech Republic.
Tactical talk: The Czechs were gaining the majority of their advantages from having Gebreselassie and Rezek press down the left. However, the entirety of the Czech midfield rushes forward with the attack, leaving them wide open to Russian counter attacks. The fact that Dzagoev and Arshavin are both appearing to play as false 9’s is causing particular havok on the Czech Republic’s center-halves– at times, it seems like they don’t know who to pick up, and it’s sucking everyone in, giving the Russian wings space to run into the posts.
46: Czechs kick off under the watchful eye of Howard Webb. The Czechs work possession rather than trying to catch Russia out early, but it’s all very Arsenal- beautiful, useless and ultimately leads to a Russian break.
49: A bit of back and forth possession for a bit, as both teams work to get back into the pace.
50: Dzagoev sets up Kerzhakov, who blasts wide from the right channel.
52: GOAL! CZECHS! 2-1 Pilar makes a gorgeous run through the center onto Plasil’s throughball, rounds Malefeev, and slides it in.
54: Rosicky with a run around the right channel works a corner opportunity. Gebreselassie gets a head to it, but it’s weak and cleared away before Rosicky bends one into Malefeev.
57: Pilar commits a foul trying to keep a Czech break alive.
58: Czechs contiuing to be metronomic in possession. An attempt to cut in results in a Russian break, but one too many passes undoes the rush.
60: Zhirkov, to Kazhakov, to Arshavin in some wonderful aerial passing, but Arshavin mishits and it goes all the way to Cech.
61: Gebreselassie barges over Zhirkov as the Czechs try to start an attacking move.
62: Hubnik turns away a reactive break from Kazhakov, as the Czechs get a goal kick.
63: Yuri Zhirkov lives up to his name, hauling down Gebreselassie in the Czech area as the Russians try to get an attack going.
64: The Heskey of the match, as Kazhakov blasts Arshavin’s gorgeous through ball well wide from about 8.
65: Milan Baros runs the wrong way, as Pilar tries to play him into the channel after running infield from the left. As a Villa supporter, I’m not surprised.
67: Zhirkov breaks up a Czech attack, blasting out Rosicky’s ball for Gebreselassie for a throw.
68: Kazhakov gets the ball out wide, all along, breaks and then fires WELL wide right.
69: Gebreselassie does well to break up Kazhakov’s long ball to Magic Pixie.
70: HOW DID HE MISS THAT?????? Kazhakov gets the ball on the right channel, with time and space, and hits incredibly wide across the goal.
72: Gebresellasie hits side netting on the volley after a WONDERFUL diagonal ball from Plasil. Nice work from the Czechs, who are now playing with much more discipline than the first half.
74: Kazhakov on, the risible Roman Pavyluchenko on. Advocaat clearly wants to see more misses.
75: Rosicky has a pop from just outside the area. Malefeev saves, it pops up, and the Russian sits up to claim it. Nice save.
76: Jiracek off, Petrzela on for the Czech Republic.
77: Gebreselassie cuts out an Arshavin run before it gets going, but the Russians maintain possession. Zhirkov’s shot is blocked for a Russian corner. Arshavin’s Near-post kick is headed clear by Hubnik, the short corner headed clear by Kaldec.
78: STAKE IN THE HEART! RUSSIA 3- 1 CZECHS Dzagoev makes no mistake after a pass is blocked and breaks to Dzagoev in the channel. Dzagoev ABSOLUTELY HAMMERED IT home.
80: Some angular passing from the Czechs results in an offside decision.
81: HOLY CRAP!!!!! PAVS WITH A GOAL TO MAKE ME FEEL SILLY!!!!! Pavlyuchenko with some BRILLIANT work to work past three Czech defenders before smashing it near post. Cech got a hand to it, but could only lift it into the roof of the net. Early contender for goal of the tournament, that. 4-1 Russia
84: Petrzela with nice work down the other end to set up Rosicky. The little Czech hits it on the half volley, right into Malefeev.
85: Kokorin on, Dzagoev off for the Russians.
86: Lafata on, Baros off for the Czechs, a move that was about 40 minutes too late.
87: Plasil stands over the freekick, and pops it over the goal.
88: Kokorin blasts into Cech after a nice counter from Russia.
89: Petrzela takes the ball forward, but pops it out for a goal kick.
90: 2 added minutes, as the Russians stand back to let the Czechs Arsenal the ball around.
90+1: Russia now controlling the ball, passing around until Webby blows for full time.
90+2: Late free kick to the Russians sparks a Czech attack, but Pilar’s run is cut off.
PEEP PEEP PEEEEEEEP! Petrzela’s consolation goal at the death is waved off for Offside. Nice move by the Czechs too. shame.
FULL TIME: Russia 4-1 Czech Republic. Time for Ballack to be a stiff German. Oh wait, there he goes.
Thanks for joining me, guys! Both teams made tactical adjustments, but the Russians just overwhelmed the Republic after the break. With better finishing, that could have EASILY been about six or seven.