The mantra is pretty simple for the teams of group A. Win and you’re in, except Russia can also draw. There are a bunch of other
scenarios, but there is no excuse for teams to sit back today. The Poland – Czech Republic match is the big one with one of those 2 certain to go through most of my time will be spent there. I’ll make sure to provide updates from the Fur Hats vs. Olive Oil as well
Czech Republic XI: Cech; Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky; Hubschman, Plasil; Jiracek, Kolar, Pilar; Baros.
CR Bench: Lastuvka, Suchy, Hubnik, Necid, Rezek, Rosicky, Petrzela, Rajtoral, Pekhart, Lafata, Darida, Drobny.
Poland XI: Tyton; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Dudka, Polanski; Blaszczykowski, Murawski, Obraniak; Lewandowski.
Poland Bench: Szczesny, Wojtkowiak, Kaminski, Matuszczyk, Rybus, Wawrzyniak, Sobiech, Mierzejewski, Wolski, Grosicki, Brozek, Sandomierski.
Russia XI: Malafeev; Anyukov, Ignashevich, A. Berezutski, Zhirkov; Shirokov, Denisov, Glushakov; Dzagoev, Kerzhakov; Arshavin.
Russia bench: Akinfeev, Sharonov, Izmailov, Pavlyuchenko, Kombarov, Granat, Pogrebnyak, Nababkin, Semshov, Shunin.
Greece XI: Sifakis; Torosidis, Papastathopoulos, K.Papadopoulos, Tzavelas; Katsouranis, Maniatis; Salpingidis, Karagounis Samaras; Gekas.
Greece Bench: Chalkias, Malezas, Makos, Liberopoulos, Mitroglou, Fotakis, Ninis,
Holebas, Fortounis, Fetfatzidis, Tzorvas.
Pregame: Teams are on the pitch, just waiting for the whistle to start both at the same time
Pol 2nd: Chance for the Poles early off of a free kick that couldn’t get cleared properly. CR needs to settle fast
CR 4th: CHANCE! Cross is slotted to the penalty spot, but Pilar slices it horribly.
Pol 5th: Free kick at the corner of the box to Poland, Obraniak takes it and puts it into the near side netting. He may have beaten Cech if it had been on target
Pol 8th: SAVE! Cech comes out to prevent what could have a cross from the goal line, corner results in nothing
Greece 9th: The greeks are going to put Russia in debt with their fast start, jsut had a near chance off a cross, but it was about a foot past the forward
POL 10th: SO CLOSE! Lewandoski goes from the center of goal to the left post and slices a great chance wide. Should have done better but couldn’t get set on the shot
RUS 11th: Of course since I said that the Russians just had a great chance, but Arshavin could only get a toe to the cross and it went right at the keeper
POL 12th: YEllOW! Once again a foul on the Czech left flank, and that is going to make like difficult. The poles have already been running rampant down that side. Beautiful free kick low into the near post, headed away to a Pole who hits it wide.
POL: fans in full voice right now, but the distinct lack of flares upsets me
POL 15th: CHANCE POLANKSI! turnover leads to numbers, but the polish man lifts the strike high. It is all Poland right now
RUS 17th: CHANCE! Russia brings it into the box on the break, keeper comes out and the square pass is made, but no one timed it right. All started by Arshavin. The resulting corner… does nothing
POL 21st: Poland with some of their best Brazilian immitations. I think they get the first goal in this one, the squad has come out hard and unfazed by the moment.
POL 22nd: CHANCE Shot from about 35 yards out on the half volley, Cech gets down to make a difficult save off the skip. Corner eventually comes back to Cech who punts it away
POL 23rd: Off the punt Barros is fouled, and it is a yellow card to Poland
POL 26th: Beautiful run forPoland down the right by the 2 Borussia Dortmund men, but they can’t get a good shot on goal
This was the type of game I loved as a keeper, one where I could start my slide at the 6 and stop at the top of the box.
In the 32nd minute now, not much in either match but all 4 teams are trying to score.
RUS 40th: CHANCe TIMES 2. First Russia chance is deflected for a corner, and off the corner a strike from 25 yards out goes over the bar by about a foot
POL 42nd: Corner to Poland comes from a deflected shot at the top of the 18, probably should have done a bit better
RUS 45 +2: Set of corners for Russia, last chance to do anything before halftime.
GREECE GOAL!!!!! GAME ON! Beautiful run down the right with maybe seconds left in stoppage time. karagunas takes advantage off a throw in, dribbles in and places it just outside the keepers foot and hard. No chance and it is 1-0 to the debtors
HALftiME: Both games head to the dressing room. Poland and Russia have seemed to be the better sides, but Russia has their back to the wall, and Poland is going to have to get desperate soon if they want to advance
AND WE ARE BACK! As things stands Greece and Russia would go through, but 45 minutes of fun still to be had
CR: 51st minute: All CR here, but they have yet to have a defining chance, will need to be better
RUS 51st: CHANCE RUSSIA! From the top of the box a one-time attempt is hit over the top of the bar, Russia should have done better
RUS 54th: Pavs hits one wide on a speculative effort, he shouldn’t have done that. Oh and he did come on as a sub at halftime
CR 61st; Yellow Card to the Polish on a bad slide tackle just outside the box by the goal line. Basically a short corner here
CR 63rd Free kick amounts to nothing, as does another one. Also greece had a good chance to double their lead but failed
CR 64th: Another free kick for CR on the corner of the box, free kick results in a great reaction save by the keeper. kick came off his own man and bounced off him and up, keeper did well on the second save to knock it away from goal
Greece 67th minute: At some point Greece had a penalty appeal turned down, and then a yellow card was given for dissent or diving, not really sure. karagounis is now coming off
GRC 70th: CROSSBAR!! Greece free kick hits the cross bar and goes out, beautiful kick form 35 yards out, keeper was standing still and everything. also have a Greek guy down on the sideline and a Yc for a Russian due to his tackle. The second free kick is headed wide
CR :73rd: GOAL CZECH’s!! not sure who score but Poland needs to get their act together if they want 2 goals.
RUS 73rd: Russia should have had a free kick on a thru ball. The Greek defender clearly moved to get in the way of the Russkie. Also as it stands Greece and Czech Republic would go through
RUS 75th: CHANCE RUSSIA! corner kick played out to top of the box and a Russian has a crack at goal, and the keeper does well to hold on to it
CR 79th: Dangerous free kick from CR is headed out for a corner. Well done by the hosts and the corner is cleared away for Poland on the break. Results in a long cross and eventually a Poland corner
CR 80th: Corner is knocked away by Cech on a great move off his line. and there is now a CR player down after he took a shot to the head. he is back up and will probably continue.
Rus 80th: Russian sub is set to come on, they really need to get their shit together soon
RUS 84th: CHANCE COMMIES! A cross is met by a glancing header, but it goes just wide of the far post. Russia pressing more and more now.
GR 86th: Time wasting shenanigans with an injury, also learning that if this was a world cup, Russia would go through because of GD. I personally think head to head should be first, but FIFA is stupid. “Injured’ guy is set to come on soon.
CR 91st: Barros is off in a time waster, and CR still seems to be in control
4 minutes stoppage for both games.
POL 93rd: Poland just came out poorly in the second half. Really had a good 25 minutes to start the match and then it has been all CR since
FINAL CR 1 – POLAND 0: Poland is done, and now we turn to the final minute of Russia – Greece
TWEET! And that is it, Greece is through with a fantastic victory, and they will join the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. For those keeping score it is Captialism 1 – Communism 0.
Fair play to the Greeks, they went after this game for the most part, but did revert to parking the bus in true Greek fashion. As for Russia, they were certainly the class of this group, but they will rue the missed chances. At halftime they had 14 shots but only 5 on target, and will need to do better if they want to be in Brazil 2 years from now.
For Poland, there was just not enough quality, and Czech Republic rebounded from a shellacking to win the group. I now look like a fucking genius picking them to advance. That is all from me, Keith will be here tomorrow to cover the Group B action tomorrow.