Game in a sentence
Russia sent the 15 other teams in this tournament a message that they’re here to win after convincingly dismantling the Czech Republic 4-1 in Wroclaw, Friday night.
- In the first 14 minutes of this game the Czech seemed to have firm control of the game, dominating possession as well as the midfield and many including myself were waiting for an eventual break through.
- It took a moment of brilliance from Russian star Alan Dzagoev as he escaped two men on the break and played the ball wide to Zyryanov. Zyryanov then crossed the ball into Kerzakov who headed the ball passed Cech into the post, and the ball fell right to Dzagoev who smashed the rebound into the back of the net.
- Nine minutes later the Czech’s found themselves two goals down, as again their defense was sliced open by the Russians quick transitions, and the superb Andrei Arshavin’s misplaced pass found Shirokov, who slotted the ball past Cech and put the Russians up by two goals, less than 30 minutes into the game
- During the first 15 minutes the Zenit midfield trio of Zyryanov, Shirokov and Denisov were unable to retain the ball, but as the game progressed and their nerves settled the trio simply outclassed Jiracek and Plasil
- It was down to the speed in their transitions, fluid passing, precise movement off the ball, and their ability to be compact and efficient when defending that tore apart the Czech Republic.
- The second half wasn’t as one-sided as the first as the Czech came out hungry and nicked a goal through a defensive lapse by the Russians. Plasil played a marvelous ball into Pilar, who tapped it past Malafeev after an exquisite first touch.
- The score line could’ve been higher if Kerzakhov wore his shooting boots tonight. Although he didn’t find the back of the net, his movement off the ball and his ability to hold up the play to allow his teammates into the game was excellent, and should merit him a start against Poland.
- The man that the media might try to push into the starting XI is Roman Pavyulchenko who was involved in both the third and fourth goal after only being on the field for 10 minutes. He provided a delicious ball to Dzagoev found the back of the net, and then shrugged off three defenders before smashing his shot into the top left corner in the matter of three minutes.
- My man of the match was Alan Dzagoev. The highly rated 21-year-old was on the radar of world football’s top clubs before suffering a dip in form. He has now once again established himself as one of the upcoming stars after regaining his form under Dick Advocaat. His ability to carve passes through the defence and get into scoring positions is what sets him apart from many of his teammates. Today, he became the 2nd youngest player to score a brace in the European Championships. The youngest player to score a brace is Wayne Rooney.
- The Russians seem to be a class ahead of the other two teams in this group and have sent out a message to all the teams in this tournament. Their ability to stay organized and then hit on the break with quick transitions and fluid passing should see them top this group and give whoever awaits in Group B a scare. As for the Czech Republic, they had a much better 2nd half, but they need to sort out their issues at the back as there were periods throughout the game where they were stretched far too easily. Going forward they lacked cohesion and didn’t give Baros enough service to cause the Russian back line any severe problems.
- Alan Dzagoev
- Andrei Arshavin
- Roman Pavyulchenko (10 minutes of brilliance)
3rd should really go to either Shirokov or Denisov.