Czech Republic 2-1 Greece – Match Review

Czech Republic kept their hopes of progressing to the quarter finals alive with a hard fought victory over Greece in Group A on Tuesday.

After being hammered 4-1 by Russia on the opening day of the finals Michal Bilek’s side knew they had to win if they were to avoid the ignominy of being the first team eliminated. That seemed to resonate with the Czech players as they stormed into a 2-0 lead inside the first five minutes with Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar getting their names on the scoresheet. Greece struggled to mount a serious response until the second half until a Petr Cech gaffe allowed Theofanis Gekas to reduce the deficit but Bileks men held to boost heir chances of advancing to the latter stages of the competition.

After picking themselves up from the morale deflating defeat on Friday the Czech’s raced out of the blocks determined to consign the memory of that game to the archives and took the lead inside two minutes. Tomas Hubschman was allowed too much space in midfield to pick out a defence splitting pass that matched the run of Jiracek who composed himself before slotting the ball past Kostas Chalkias. That advantage was doubled as the clock ticked towards the five minute mark as Greece struggled to catch their breath after the first goal. Gebre Selassie infiltrated down the right and his cut back was kneed in by Pilar from close despite having two defenders for company.

Greece’s reputation as team who are difficult to break down duding Fernando Santos’ two year reign was dispelled as they struggled to contain a vibrant Czech side who were a complete mirror image to the one outplayed by Russia five days. Giorgos Fotakis’ header then looked to have handed Greece a lifeline just before the break only for it to be harshly rule it out for offside.

But eight minutes they were handed a route back into the game courtesy of an error from Cech. The Chelsea goalkeeper raced out to collect a Giorgios Samaras cross fumbling the ball as he collided with a Tomas Sivok and presenting Gekas with the easiest goal he’ll score in his career. Olympiakos forward Kostas Mitroglou was then thrown on by Santos as Greece went for broke in search of an equaliser but with four strikers on the field they failed to test a brittle Czech defence and need to beat Russia in their final game to stand a chance of reaching the knockout stages.