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Follow Me on TwitterRob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at rsoria@ourhometown.ca
Euro 2012: Group A - Poland and Czech Republic will play for second, Russia nearly clinch
Rob Soria
OurHometown.ca

Euro 2012: Group A - Poland and Czech Republic will play for second, Russia nearly clinch
After two rounds of games in Group A, Russia have a leg up on advancing to the knockout stages of Euro 2012 but it's anyone's guess who will be joining them there. With the Czech Republic beating Greece by a score of 2-1, it is unlikely that the Greeks will make it out of the group stages. That leaves Poland to face the Czech's for the final spot, after holding Russia to a 1-1 draw.
PHOTO CREDIT - CanadianPress.com

Edmonton - June 12, 2012 - After two rounds of games in Group A, Russia have a leg up on advancing to the knockout stages of Euro 2012 but it's anyone's guess who will be joining them there. With the Czech Republic beating Greece by a score of 2-1, it is unlikely that the Greeks will make it out of the group stages. That leaves Poland to face the Czech's for the final spot, after holding Russia to a 1-1 draw.

The Czech Republic could not have wished for a better start, scoring twice inside the opening six minutes. Petr Jirácek ran onto a lovely ball from Tomas Hubschmann and powered a shot past goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias to make it 1-0, just three minutes in. They would double their lead less then three minutes later.

After a beautiful pass from captain Tomas Rosicky found a streaking Theodor Gebre Selassie, the Czech defender sent the ball across the face of the goal that Chalkias got a piece of but was unable to control, leaving a simple tap in for Vaclav Pilar. For the second straight match, some awful defending left Greece with another mountain to climb.

They appeared to have cut the lead in half with just under five minutes remaining in the opening forty-five but an incorrect offside call, cost them their opening marker. Giorgos Fotakis flicked home a great cross from defender Vasilis Torosidis but was flagged down by the side official. A tough break for the Greeks but one that they could do nothing about.

Greece would did get on the board thanks to a major blunder from Petr Cech, inside the opening ten minutes of the second half. Striker Georgios Samaras played what appeared to be a wasted, slow rolling, attempt on goal that Cech simply fumbled and dropped. Unfortunately for the Chelsea keeper, it fell directly to the boot of a stunned Theofanis Gekas, who promptly put the ball into the gaping Czech Republic goal. That would be as close as they would get, leaving the Greeks little chance of advancing to the knockout stages of the competition.

The second game of the day saw a high flying Russian side taking on the co-hosts in Poland. While the hosts did well to keep the Russian's from generating much, they still managed to open the scoring late in the first half. Alan Dzagoev headed home a brilliant ball from Andrey Arshavin off a Russian free kick, giving the youngster three goals in his first two matches of Euro 2012.

Poland would tie things up in the second half thanks to an amazing strike and a poor decision from Arshavin. With Russia attacking in numbers the highly skilled Ashavin made an awful pass across the Poland box that started the home side up the pitch and left the Russian shaking his head, instead of getting back into the play.

Moments later captain Jakub Blaszczykowski was putting the finishing touches on an absolutely superb strike that may very well end up being the goal of the tournament. The goal pulled Poland on level terms and sending the crowd in Warszawa into a hysterics.


Group A - Results and Schedule


06/08/12 - Poland 1 Greece 1
06/08/12 - Russia 4 Czech Republic 1
06/12/12 - Czech Republic 2 Greece 1
06/12/12 - Poland 1 Russia 1
06/16/12 - Czech Republic vs Poland
06/16/12 - Greece vs Russia




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