Greece 1-0 Russia
Czech Republic 1-0 Poland
We made a collective ‘family’ decision to watch the ‘more interesting’ second game of the Czechs vs. the Poles. (The games were on at the same time by the way.) So, unfortunately I was unable to watch this game live. But having seen and heard highlights it appears that the Russians (especially after going behind) did not up their game enough and although don’t deserve to be out the tournament, didn’t do enough to stay in. The Greeks scored just before half time, knowing w in would put them through on head-to-head. This means that although they would be level on points with Russia, as they had beaten them (ie.head-to-head) they would go through instead. (While the Czechs were winning. If they hadn’t won, Russia would probably have gone through depending on goal difference of the Poland games.- This is quite confusing stuff to be honest!)
So, I watched this game and can honestly say that I don’t believe the Poles’ hearts were in it. They gave away free kicks in their own half, in the Czechs’ half, on the outside of the Czechs’ box. Everywhere. And when they got the ball, they ultimately lost it. The Czech Republic goal was a good one, goalie was never on it- credit to them and their playing. In the third minute from stoppage time there was an almost definite penalty that wasn’t given (to the Poles) for a handball. It wouldn’t have made a difference to them (they needed a win), but it would have meant the Russians went through instead of the Czechs if this game had ended in a draw.
We have our first quarter-finalists! Greece will play the runner-up of Group B (probably Portugal). Czech Republic will play the winner of Group B (probably Germany). Bad luck to the Russians who many were backing to do good this tournament. Also, I feel for the Polish they. They started so well in the opening game. Many even said they were conned out of a win. But the simple fact is that they were outplayed by more experienced teams. Here’s to Greece (2004 winners) and Czech Republic doing well and hopefully beating their Group B counterparts. (I would like to see Germany beat Greece as much as the next English fan!)