Czechs top Group A, send Poles packing
Czech Republic secured a place in the quarterfinals of UEFA Euro 2012 with a 1-0 win over Poland in Wroclaw on Saturday night, sending the co-hosts out of the tournament.
The Czechs, thanks to the 1-0 win at the Municipal Stadium, finished top of Group A and are joined in the last eight by Greece, who defeated Russia by the same score in Warsaw.
Poland started strongly and threatened an early goal through the likes of Dariusz Dudka and Ludovic Obraniak, who both hit the side netting within the opening ten minutes of the match. Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski then sliced an effort wide of the target after being played into the Czech penalty area.
Midway through the half, Petr Cech was called upon to make the first significant save from either goalkeeper, palming away a difficult long range effort from Sebastian Boenisch that looked destined for the bottom corner of the net.
Yet from about the half hour mark Czech Republic began to look very threatening going forward and Polish goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton was called upon to make a couple of decent saves from Jaroslav Plasil and Vaclav Pilar as the interval neared.
News filtered through from Warsaw that Greece were 1-0 up against Russia, meaning both the Czechs and Poland needed to win the game in the second half to have any chance of progressing to the quarterfinals.
However, clear scoring chances were few and far between, with the first good save of the second half only arriving in the 65th minute when Tyton did really well to keep out a Tomas Sivok header and the follow-up from the rebound.
Seven minutes later the deadlock was finally broken. Milan Baros broke into the box and played the ball to Petr Jiracek, who cut the ball onto his right foot before providing a crisp finish into the bottom corner.
That goal proved enough for the Czechs, who held out for the rest of tge game in relative comfort as Poland were unable to muster any significant scoring chances in reply.