CECH OUT OF LUCK AT EUROS

Posted on: Fri 08 Jun 2012

The Czech Republic's Euro 2012 campaign got off to the worst possible start as they were soundly beaten 4-1 by Russia in Warsaw.

Petr Cech was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers, and there was little he could do to prevent Russia from taking an early lead through midfielder Alan Dzagoev. Shortly after, they doubled their advantage when Roman Shirokov finished cooly inside the penalty area to give them a comfortable half-time lead.

Vaclav Pilar pulled one back for the Czech Republic minutes after the break, but the game was all but finished as a contest when Dzagoev scored his second of the match with a powerful drive into the roof of the net. Former Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko compounded the Czech's misery when he came off the bench late on to score a stunning fourth in what was an impressive performance by Dick Advocaat's men, who had former Chelsea man Yuri Zhirkov playing for them.

Meanwhile, it was an eventful opening to the tournament as hosts Poland were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece, as both teams were reduced to 10 men.

Robert Lewandowski, the in-form Borussia Dortmund striker, had given Poland a deserved 17th minute lead before Sokratis Papastathopoulos saw red for picking up a second yellow card.

However, just after the break Greece equalised when a mix-up in the Polish defence allowed Dimitris Salpigidis to fire them level from close-range, and there was more drama to come.

With 20 minutes left to play, Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for a clumsy foul on the Greek goalscorer inside the box, conceding a penalty in the process.

Giorgos Karagounis was the man entrusted with taking the resulting kick, but the substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton made a superb save down to his left with his first touch of the ball, and while Poland will have been expecting to win the game prior to kick-off, they came away thankful for a point.