Czech Republic v Greece, 12 June 2012

Score2-1 to Czech Republic
RefereeStephane Lannoy
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals Group A
VenueMiejski Stadion, Wroclaw
Attendance41,105
Kick-off: 6.00pm local Assistant referees: Frédéric Cano (France) Michaël Annonier (France) Fourth official: Matej Jug (Slovenia) Additional assistant referees: Fredy Fautrel (France) Ruddy Buquet (France) Man of the Match: Václav Pilař (Czech Republic) After making their worst-ever opening to a major final tournament, the Czech Republic made amends thanks to a lightning start as they beat Greece 2-1 to reignite their hopes of making the knockout stages. The 4-1 defeat by Russia last Friday in their Group A curtain-raiser had clearly stung Michal Bílek's men. They responded by taking the fastest-ever two-goal lead in UEFA European Championship history as Petr Jiráček and Václav Pilař both found the net inside six minutes in Wroclaw. Though an uncharacteristic slip by Petr Čech allowed substitute Fanis Gekas to pull one back eight minutes after the break, the Czechs held on to register a maiden win over Greece, though both teams still harbour ambitions of reaching the quarter-finals. Fernando Santos's hand had been forced with injury and suspension depriving him of the two central defenders who had begun the opening game against Poland. The Greece coach soon had reason to curse the fates. Almost no sooner had they been put together than the makeshift centre-back pairing of Kyriakos Papadopoulos and midfielder Kostas Katsouranis were pulled apart as Tomáš Hübschman measured a pass between them for Jiráček to open the scoring. The only goal in the three previous meetings between these two had been Traianos Dellas's silver goal in the UEFA EURO 2004 semi-finals. Jiráček's was worth its weight in gold for the Czechs. Santos had seen his team make a slow start against Poland, and had promised it would not happen again, but there was not even time for Greece to regroup before they fell still further behind. Theodor Gebre Selassie's overlapping run escaped the attentions of everyone bar Tomáš Rosický, who picked out the full-back on the right. The subsequent low cross evaded goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias's dive and Pilař bundled the ball, and the unfortunate Katsouranis, across the goal line. After being roundly jeered by his compatriots among the crowd when his name was announced before kick-off, there was more than a hint of vindication about Czech coach Bílek's celebratory punch of the air. The sight of Chalkias limping over to the bench with only 23 minutes on the clock did little to raise the spirits of the Greek fans, unsurprisingly outnumbered by their Czech counterparts inside the Municipal Stadium Wroclaw. Chalkias's replacement, Michalis Sifakis, did his best to improve morale by turning aside a long-range Rosický effort, and when Giorgos Fotakis headed in Vassilis Torossidis's cross, the blue-and-white clad supporters erupted – before the assistant referee's flag quickly pooped their party. It did not take long after the break for it to restart, though, as the Czechs unwittingly helped Greece back into the game. Milan Baroš dallied when a ball broke kindly in the box; Gekas did not extend the same courtesy, rolling the ball into the empty net after Čech allowed Giorgos Samaras's seemingly innocuous centre to slip through his habitually sure grasp. A similar gaffe had ended Czech hopes at UEFA EURO 2008, yet though Greece pushed for an equaliser, the Chelsea FC goalkeeper's rare mistake did not prove as costly four years on.

2  Czech Republic

Manager: Michal Bilek

1  Greece

Manager: Fernando Santos

Goals:

Petr Jiracek 3 G
Vaclav Pilar 6 G

Goals:

Theofanis Gekas 53 G

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Petr Čech
Defender Tomas Hubschmann
Defender Michal Kadlec
Midfielder David Limbersky
Midfielder Jaroslav Plasil
Midfielder Tomas Rosicky (captain)
Midfielder Tomas Sivok
Forward Milan Baros
Forward Petr Jiracek
Forward Vaclav Pilar

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias
Defender José Holebas
Defender Giannis Maniatis
Midfielder Kostas Fortounis
Midfielder Giorgos Fotakis
Midfielder Giorgios Karagounis (captain)

Substitutions:

Daniel Kolar for Tomas Rosicky 46
Tomas Pekhart for Milan Baros 64
Frantisek Rajtoral for Daniel Kolar 90

Substitutions:

Michalis Sifakis for Kostas Chalkias 23
Theofanis Gekas for Giorgos Fotakis 46
Kostas Mitroglou for Kostas Fortounis 71

Cards:

Tomas Rosicky 27 Y
Petr Jiracek 36 Y
Daniel Kolar 66 Y

Cards:

Vassilis Torosidis 34 Y
Kyriakos Papadopoulos 56 Y
Dimitrios Salpingidis 57 Y

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny
Goalkeeper Jan Lastuvka
Defender Roman Hubnik
Defender/Midfielder Marek Suchý
Midfielder Vladimír Darida
Midfielder Daniel Kolar
Midfielder Milan Petrezela
Forward David Lafata
Forward Tomas Necid
Forward Tomas Pekhart
Forward Jan Rezek

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis
Goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas
Defender Stelios Malezas
Defender/Midfielder Grigorios Makos
Midfielder Giannis Fetfatzidis
Midfielder/Forward Sotirios Ninis
Forward Theofanis Gekas