Czech Republic tops Poland to win Group A

Published June 16, 2012

| Sports Network

The Czech Republic finished on top of Group A on Saturday as Petr Jiracek's 72nd-minute goal was enough to secure a 1-0 win over Poland, knocking the co-hosts out of the competition.

The Czechs would have finished second in the group had Russia beaten Greece, as expected, but the Greeks pulled off a 1-0 upset on Saturday, allowing the Czech Republic to finish on top, with Greece securing second place and putting Russia out.

The difference was Jiracek's goal on the counter attack with less than 20 minutes to play, but the result wasn't safe until the dying seconds when Poland substitute Pawel Brozek had his shot cleared off the goal line by Czech defender Michal Kadlec.

Up next for the Czech Republic will be the winner of Group B, while Poland becomes the third successive host nation to fail to advance past the group stage, joining Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria and Switzerland.

Poland looked good early in the match and squandered a great chance to take the lead in the 10th minute when Robert Lewandowski missed the net from 10 yards with goalkeeper Petr Cech at his mercy.

Sebastian Boenisch tested the Czech goalkeeper with a long-range effort in the 22nd minute that forced an awkward save, but Poland saw little of the ball after that as the Czech Republic started to take control.

The Poles started poorly after halftime and nearly fell behind in the 65th when a free kick from Jaroslav Plasil was turned on net from inside the six- yard box by Tomas Sivok, only for Poland goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton to keep it out with a nice reaction stop.

But the Czechs wouldn't be denied seven minutes later as Poland lost the ball in midfield and Milan Baros embarked on a long run into the penalty area before laying the ball off for Jiracek to drive past Tyton.

Poland needed two goals to advance at that point, but only managed one real chance the rest of the way as Kadlec came to the rescue in the dying moments.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/06/16/czech-republic-tops-poland-to-win-group/