Russia crash out after Greece shock win
Russia crashed out of the 2012 European Championships Saturday after they lost 1-0 in a final Group A tie at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
Semi-finalists four years ago, Russia, who got off to superb start with a 4-1 thumping of the Czech Republic in their opening group game, needed only a draw to make it into the knockout stage of the tournament.
The Czechs defeated co-hosts Poland 1-0 to finish top of the group with seven points, while the Greeks finished second on the head-to-head rule after they recorded four points, same as Russia.
Poland finished bottom of the standings on two points.
Greece took the lead in first half stoppage time through skipper Giorgos Karagounis, who was playing his 120th game for his country.
The 35-year-old Greece skipper got to the end of a loose ball, darted into the Russia goal area before he fired past goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev for what proved to be the match winner.
Russia dominated, enjoying the possession and coming close through skipper Arshavin, striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Zhirkov and Dzagoev.
In general, Greece frustrated Russia as they packed the bus in front of their goalkeeper Sifakis with only Samaras left upfront as Russia continued to try to get past a crowded defence.
Match hero Karagounis was booked for diving in the 61st minute when it really looked like he was brought down inside the Russia box.
He will therefore miss the quarterfinal against the winners of Group B.
The Greeks still managed to create a few chances of their own even in the 70th minute with Tzavellas free kick crashing against the crossbar.
In the dying minutes, Alan Dzagoev header off an Andrey Arhavin cross only missed the Greece goal by fraction.