Poland 1-1 Russia: Poland beef up their midfield and prevent Russia counter-attacking

June 13, 2012

“Neither side played particularly open football – but strangely, this turned out to be a very good contest. Wojciech Szczesny was suspended, so Franciszek Smuda continued with Przemyslaw Tyton, the hero of the first game, in goal. More interestingly, he changed the structure of his side, moving to more of a 4-1-4-1 formation, dropping left-winger Maciej Rybus in favour of a solid holder, Dariusz Dudka. Ludovic Obraniak moved to the left.” Zonal Marking

Russia atop wide-open Group A
“Midway through the second half, Russia was poised to deal a mortal psychological blow to longtime rival Poland. But Jakub Blaszczykowski scored an emotional equalizer for his country, allowing the co-hosts to claim a 1-1 tie on a day that saw supporters from both teams clash outside Warsaw’s National Stadium. Russia’s Alan Dzagoev scored in the first half, redirecting Andrei Arshavin’s free kick. But after forcing Russia goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev into several sharp saves, Poland struck back through Blaszczykowski, causing an explosion of cheers from Polish supporters in the 57th minute.” ESPN (Video)

Euro 2012 Day 5: Poland, Russia clash; Czech Republic restores hope
“It was a day of howling sirens, blood-spattered pavement and the menacing thump of baton on riot shield as the warnings of violence before Poland’s game with Russia proved to be distressingly accurate. As 5,000 Russians marched through Warsaw to celebrate their country’s national day, they clashed with Polish hooligans. Police water cannons, tear gas, auditory grenades and 56 arrests were required to restore order.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

Euro 2012 Football Daily: Poland strike back to stop Russia’s forward march
“James Richardson has Barry Glendenning and Rob Smyth in the pod for tonight’s Euro 2012 Football Daily. We start by analysing Poland’s draw with Russia, perhaps the best game of the tournament so far, as well as nodding favourably in the direction of the Czech Republic’s victory over Greece. Who will go through from Group A? The learned Jonathan Wilson joins us from Warsaw to share his thoughts.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson, James Richardson (Video)

Euro 2012: Poland 1 Russia 1
“Some matches have a backdrop that is more than just about football, and with more than a dozen military conflicts between the two nations over the last millennia, feelings run high. As well as a presence of around 6000 Polish police officers, an estimated 5000 Russian fans marched through Warsaw. This march wasn’t one proclaiming military might, but political freedom, as June 12 is Russia Day, a national holiday to commemorate the day the Russian parliament declared sovereignty from the former Soviet Union. With the historical context, and the warnings of hooliganism being rife in Poland, there was always a likelihood of conflict off the pitch, and while there have been skirmishes between rival fans, the feeling coming out of Poland at the time of writing is that this has been blown up by the media to satisfy their moral panic coming into the tournament.” twohundredpercent

Gavin Hamilton Euro 2012 diary, Warsaw June 12
“The violence between Russian and Polish fans overshadowed a terrific match in Warsaw tonight. But trouble had been brewing all day, with tension in the air from early on. There was a heavy police presence around the stadium, with helicopters, horses and armed cops waiting for the inevitable.” World Soccer

Czech Republic 2-1 Greece: Greece vulnerable down their left again

June 13, 2012

“The Czech Republic had a very good first ten minutes, and that was enough to put themselves in a commanding position. Both coaches made changes to their starting line-ups, moving their XI closer to the side that finished their opening matches. Michal Bilek started holding midfielder Tomas Hubschman, with Petr Jiracek on the left of midfield. At the back, Michael Kadlec moved into the middle from the left-back position he looked uncomfortable in against Russia, so David Limbersky came into the side at left-back.” Zonal Marking

Czech Republic strikes early, beats Greece 2-1 in Group A at Euro 2012
“Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar scored in the first six minutes to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Greece on Tuesday at the European Championship. Jiracek shot the ball past Greece goalkeeper Costas Chalkias in the third minute after a pass from Tomas Hubschmann sliced through the Greek defense. Three minutes later, Pilar scored his second goal of the tournament, beating Greek defenders to a ball sent across the goal by Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie.” SI

Czech Republic back in contention
“A few thoughts from Czech Republic’s 2-1 victory over Greece… What it means: Shorn of its two first-choice center backs, the vaunted Greek defense crumbled early against a grateful Czech team that strengthened its hand in an open Group A. Its final group game against Poland should be winner-take-all.” ESPN (Video)

Euro 2012: Early strikes give Czech Republic upper hand over Greece
“Both centre-backs, gone. The goalkeeper, gone. The game, gone. All with just 22 minutes gone. That was the grim reality for Greece. And then, just when they thought they had grabbed a lifeline, that was gone too, taken from them by a linesman’s flag that the full-back Vassilis Torossidis insisted was no coincidence. Once again, they rebelled. Just as Dimitris Salpigidis had come on at half‑time in their opening game and scored, so Fanis Gekas came on at half‑time in their second game and within seven minutes he too had scored.” Guardian

Euro 2012: Uefa investigates allegations of racism by fans

June 13, 2012

“Uefa is to investigate alleged racist chanting during the Euro 2012 matches between Spain and Italy and Russia v Czech Republic. A Spanish fans’ group has said some of its supporters abused Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli. Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie told reporters he ‘noticed’ racist chants directed at him. Uefa said that no disciplinary proceedings had been started at this stage.” BBC