vrijdag 8 juni 2012

Euro 2012 Report

The Euro 2012 is officialy begon!!! 
And these were the first twee games played today:

Poland 1-1 Greece
Szczesny sent off as sub Salpingidis grabs thrilling draw

Fernando Santos' men produced a stunning display after falling behind and having a man sent off, and went close to winning only to see their captain miss a penalty

UEFA EURO - Poland v Greece, Dimitris Salpigidis

Poland and Greece played out a thrilling 1-1 draw that included two red cards and a penalty in the opening game of Euro 2012 at the National Stadium in Warsaw.

Franciszek Smuda's men dominated proceedings in the first half and deservedly took the lead through Robert Lewandowski. Just before half-time, Sokratis Papastathopoulos was sent off for a second bookable offence, leaving Greece with an uphill task to overturn their deficit.

Fernando Santos introduced Dimitris Salpingidis after the break and the PAOK man made an instant impact, netting the equaliser shortly after the restart. The substitute later won a penalty after he was fouled by Wojciech Szczesny, who was sent off for the offence, but captain Giorgos Karagounis missed from the spot.

Ultimately, the two sides had to settle for a draw in game which offered plenty of excitement from start to finish.

Both teams employed a cautious approach in the beginning of the match, but it was Poland, spurred on by their vocal fans, who created the first chance. A cross from the right by Lukasz Piszczek caught the Greek defence by surprise, but Lewandowski failed to connect with pass.

The ball ended up in the path of Rafal Murawski, who powered a shot at goal from outside the box, but his finish was palmed over the bar by goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias. Greece's reply came in the 12th minute when Theofanis Gekas sent a header wide of the left post from inside the box with the Polish defence beaten.

Smuda's men soon regained the initiative, and were looking particularly dangerous down the right flank as Borussia Dortmund duo Jakub 'Kuba' Blaszczykowski and Piszczek were causing the visitors plenty of trouble.

Their persistence paid off the 17th minute as they combined well on the wing before the former Wisla Krakow midfielder delivered a perfect cross for Lewandowski, who powered an unstoppable header past the onrushing Chalkias, making amends for missing with a volley moments earlier.

The opener calmed the nerves of Poland, who took their foot off the gas after their period of dominance. Greece adjusted their approach as well, and looked more committed in attack, but were struggling to create chances as the home side's pressing game was proving difficult to handle for the visitors.

Things went from bad to worse for Santos' men as in the 37th minute Avraam Papadopoulos was forced to leave the pitch after picking up an injury. His replacement, Kyriakos Papadopoulos nearly made an instant gaffe as his poor clearance on a free kick allowed Damien Perquis to fire a shot from inside the box, but to the relief of the Schalke man the finish missed the target.

The turning point of the half arrived in the 44th minute when Sokratis Papastathopoulos picked up his second caution of the game for foul on Murawski, leaving Greece with 10 men for the remainder of the match.

Sotiris Ninis was replaced by Salpingidis after the restart, and Santos' decision paid instant dividends. A mix-up by Szczesny and defender Marcin Wasilewski gifted Salpingidis a golden chance to level the proceedings, and the attacker took it with both hands, finishing in the left corner.

Smuda's men looked shell-shocked by the equaliser and were lacking ideas in the final third. Greece, on the other hand, were defending superbly, easily soaking up the pressure, waiting for their chance on the counter.

Just after the hour mark Georgios Samaras had a superb opportunity to put the Greeks ahead, but sent a volley from just outside the six-yard box way over the bar.

Poland received another blow as in the 69th minute as Szczesny was shown a straight red after fouling Salpingidis in the box, conceding a penalty in the process. Karagounis, however, saw his spot-kick saved by substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, wasting a chance to give Greece the lead.

The visitors had a goal disallowed in the 75th minute, and despite their best efforts were unable to score again as the game ended in a draw.

Russia 4-1 Czech Republic
Deadly Dzagoev fires incisive double
The CSKA star hit a pair of goals in each half as Dick Advocaat's charges ran out worthy winners in Wroclaw, inflicting a punishing blow on their Group A rivals

Alan Dzagoev - Russia

An outstanding attacking display from Russia had as its highlight two wonderfully taken goals from Alan Dzagoev, as they cruised to a 4-1 win over the Czech Republic in Group A to kick their Euro 2012 campaign in impressive fashion.

Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov netted before half time to put the Eastern Europeans in a commanding position, although they could have led by more if not for wasteful finishing. 

Vaclav Pilar then gave the Czechs a shout of getting something from the game with his strike, but Russia saved the best for last as Dzagoev and Roman Pavlyuchenko both scored in the last 15 minutes to seal an emphatic opening victory. 

The game started in a scrappy, hectic fashion, with both sides conceding numerous fouls in the first 10 minutes. It was the Czechs, however, who appeared to be in control in the first phases, controlling the ball albeit with very little action in front of goal. Tomas Rosicky fired from long range, but the Arsenal man put his speculative shot high and wide. 

Russia were content to sit back at the beginning, but they had demonstrated their ability in front of goal with last week's destruction of Italy. Apparently the Czech defence had not learnt the lesson; a fluid counterattack spearheaded by Alan Dzagoev led to Aleksandr Kerzhakov hitting the post, but Dzagoev was on hand to fire home the rebound and give Dick Advocaat's men the lead with just 15 minutes played. 

The goal was the cue for Russia to take a stranglehold on proceedings. Dzagoev was played in one on one with Peter Cech following a neat pass from Kerzhakov, but the CSKA Moscow star snatched at his effort and could only find the side-netting.

Andrei Arshavin was the inspiration for the second of the evening. The Arsenal star split open the defence with a brilliant pass across the area, which was met by Roman Shirokov to chip over the prostrate Cech and double the advantage. 

Czech Republic continued to try and build from deep with the ball at feet, but any mistake was punished by a Russia team that attacked continually with purpose and numbers. 

Kerzhakov would have been extremely disappointed not to have registered on the scoresheet during a one-sided first half. The Zenit man had another golden chance to hit the net having been played in from the left-hand side but, stretching and off balance, blazed over the bar.

The Czechs, meanwhile, barely tested Vyacheslav Malafeev at the other end, and would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle and go into the dressing room just two behind. 

Michal Bilek's team came out after the break looking to reduce the deficit, but they were frustrated by a Russian outfit determined to deny their opponents the slightest glimpse on goal.

At the other end they remained the side looking most likely to add to the scoreline; Kerzhakov was given another chance on the right hand side, but once again fired wide. 

Seven minutes into the half, however, the Czech side finally found the breakthrough. A wonderful pass from Jaroslav Plasil opened the Russian defence for the first time, and Vaclav Pilar was the beneficiary as he controlled the ball instantly, took it round Malafeev and slotted into the empty net for a much-needed lifeline. 

Wroclaw's Municipal Stadium suddenly burst into life with the strike, as the sizeable Czech contingent in the crowd finally found something to cheer after an opening period that had provided little and they made themselves heard.

On the pitch as well, the effect of Pilar's effort began to make itself felt. The Czechs were playing with more calm and authority, while the previously flawless passing game from Russia began to look rather more ragged as passes were falling astray.

Advocaat's side, however, remained dangerous and should really have sewn up the game with 20 minutes gone of the second half. Kerzhakov broke the offside trap perfectly to go clean through, but his torrid evening in front of goal continued as he dragged his shot well wide to blow a golden opportunity. 

It just was not to be the Zenit hitman's day. Another decent effort blazed to the left of Cech's post, followed by an attempt on his weaker left foot moments marked the sixth and seventh shots on goal of the evening for Aleksandr, without once forcing a save from the Chelsea goalkeeper.

His profligacy meant that Russian hearts were in mouths for the last 15 minutes; a wonderfully-hit volley from Theodor Gebre Selassie from wide on the right momentarily looked like flying in, before ultimately finishing in the side netting.

Rosicky's vicious long-range shot also gave Malafeev trouble, but the keeper did brilliantly to first parry before instantly recovering to smother the loose ball. The game was wrapped up shortly after, however; more fluid Russian passing sent Dzagoev away in the area, and the CSKA man proved he had no problem converting as he blasted home to give Cech no chance.

And minutes after come off the bench for Kherzakov, Roman Pavlyuchenko added a fourth with a high shot into the roof of the net, having bamboozled an exhausted Czech backline. 

The victory means Russia go straight to the top of Group A, overtaking Greece and hosts Poland after the pair drew 1-1 in the tournament's opening clash.


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