Match in a sentence
After being absolutely dreadful in their first game against Russia eight days ago, the Czech Republic put in a professional/mature performance to beat Poland 1-0 in a dreary match in Wroclaw, to win Group A.
- The scenario before both Group A games kicked off was simple; both Poland and the Czech Republic needed a win to advance.
- The Czech Republic started with their usual 4-2-3-1, but the headlines that surrounded their starting XI was that they would be without the injured Tomas Rosicky. In his place started Daniel Kolar.
- Poland also continued to play with their 4-1-4-1 that sees them unbeaten in this tournament thus far, but can see them eliminated if they don’t muster up a win.
- Poland started the first 25 minutes really well and had several chances to take the lead, but their finishing was woeful. Good teams are clinical and in the first half the Polish were the opposite.
- The Czech Republic settled into the game and started to gain a few chances, but a key note in this half was how compact their defence was. When Poland had possession of the ball they had practically two banks of four in their midfield.Poland was unable to get in behind their defence and both teams lacked that bit of creativity you need to score a goal.
- Polish striker Robert Lewandowski seemed to be in no mans land. The space between him and the Polish five man midfield was far too much and he was lacking the quality service and support he needs to perform at a high level.
- The second half started the way the first half ended and that was the Czech’s getting stronger, and threatening Tyton’s net frequently. The Polish legs were tiring and with Greece leading Russia 1-0, the Czechs knew they needed just one goal to top the group.
- In the 72 minute they got that goal when Rafal Murawski lost possession to Tomas Hubschman in the Czech Republics half. Hubschman then picked out Milan Baros, who then played the ball wide left to Peter Jiracek who weaved past a defender in the box and calmly placed it by Polish goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton.
- The goal was coming once the Czechs settled into the game, it was just a matter of when, The Polish player’s were losing possession easily due to tired legs and were just woeful in front of the net.
- Poland had one last chance to get a point out of this game and potentially put Russia through, but was undone by a goal line clearance from Michal Kadlec who was simply outstanding tonight.
- The co hosts Poland have now been eliminated as they failed to win a game in Euro 2012. Although, that might sound bad they did provide the neutrals and their fans with some great football, but fatigue and their finishing were their downfall. I do believe Smuda should possibly resign now. Their focus now is World Cup 2014 in Brazil, and it might be time to have a new approach towards their future. The reason being that this performance in front of their wonderful fans and lively atmosphere was absolutely uninspiring. If you aren’t able to be up for a game of this magnitude in front of your own fans, then there are many questions to ask about the Polish player’s and coach’s character. This is why their FA must re assess the situation at hand as they potentially have a bright future ahead of them.
- After a lethargic start to Euro 2012, the Czech Republic see themselves win Group A and have a quarter-final date against either Portugal, Denmark or Holland Thursday night. They will also see Tomas Rosicky bounce back in time to be fit for the important clash as they’ll be up for it.
- Although, this team has problems going forward and can switch off at times defensively, they’re a minimum of 180 minutes away from a Euro 2012 final. It is a long shot but this is cup football and if the Czech Republic can grow in confidence and fix these errors than anything is possible.
- Michal Kadlec
- Petr Jiracek
- Theodor Gebre Selassie
Honourable Mentions to Vaclav Pilar and Tomas Hubschman who overall were good.