Wroclaw (Poland), June 17: The Czech Republic stunned hosts Poland 1-0 here Saturday, roaring into the Euro 2012 quarterfinals as the Group A winners.
Czech midfielder Petr Jiracek scored the winner in the 71st minute when he beat Poland’s keeper Przemyslav Tyton after a brilliant hold-up work from forward Milan Baros.
Poland, who tied 1-1 with Greece and Russia respectively, could have made history to win a match in the European championships and topped the group if they beat the Czechs, reports Xinhua.
Czech skipper and playmaker Tomas Rosicky was not in the starting 11 due to injury, which raised hope of Poland’s win.
Poland dominated the first half and created many scoring chances. But all their shots were saved by Czech keeper Petr Cech or went wide.
In the 15th minute, Poland’s No. 1 striker Robert Lewandowski won the ball off Czech defender Tomas Sivok, passing to Jakub Blaszczykowski who laid off right to Euqen Polanski. The midfielder hammered a shot wide. It was the best chance for Poland in the first half.
The second half saw the revival of the Czechs. They launched waves of attacks from the left. Three Poland’s players booked yellow, which weakened their defence.
After conceding a goal, the Poles started to lay siege to the Czechs’ goal. But they missed two great chances to level in the last minutes.
In the 82nd minute, Dortmund’s defender Lukasz Piszczek launched a lovely cross into the box as four players waited at the far-post. However, Czech defender Sivok rose highest to head clear.
In the 89th minute, Poland broke quickly. Blaszczykowski crossed from the right towards Lewandowski, but Sivok rose highest once more.
In Warsaw, Greece beat Russia 1-0 and advanced in second-place from Group A. Russia stood third and Poland bottom, both were eliminated.