Jiracek sends co-hosts Poland crashing out

Czech Republic 1 Poland 0

Petr Jiracek's second-half goal ensured the Czech Republic squeaked into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 as co-hosts Poland suffered an early exit.

Outplayed for the majority of the first half, the Czechs were seemingly stung into action after Greece took a half-time lead against Russia in the other Group A game in Warsaw.

That result left Michal Bilek's men needing all three points to reach the last eight and after dominating the tempo after the interval, Jiracek's calm finish ensured they topped the group, with Russia and Poland the eliminated teams.

Poland knew nothing less than a win would see them reach the knockout stages at the expense of the Czech Republic, who also needed three points to guarantee their qualification for the last eight.

Similar to their previous two matches, Poland were understandably backed by boisterous home support and they nearly gave them something to shout about early on but Dariusz Dudka's overhead kick hit the side netting.

Yet they should have been behind soon after and were grateful for Vaclav Pilar completely fluffing his lines in front of goal after Theodor Gebre Selassie had picked him out with a low ball into the area.

The frenetic start continued, with Poland midfielder Ludovic Obraniak's free-kick from a narrow angle hitting the side netting once more while Robert Lewandowski should have done better after slicing horribly wide with a decent sight at goal.

It seemed only a matter of time that the Czech Republic defence would be breached and goalkeeper Petr Cech had to be at his best to push away Sebastian Boenisch's dipping 30-yard effort.

With the rain teeming down in Wroclaw, the action slowed down a touch although the Czechs, who beat Greece after losing to Russia, ended the half well.

Milan Baros, after beating the offside trap, failed to control David Limbersky's chip over the defence while Pilar's powerful strike from the edge of the area was gathered by Polish keeper Przemyslaw Tyton at the second attempt.

As the teams trudged off at the interval it was the Czechs who would be going through but Greece taking a shock lead on the stroke of half-time against Russia meant both the Czech Republic and Poland needed victory if the result in Warsaw stayed the same.

Spurred into action the Czechs responded positively, dominating possession in the early stages of the second half but failing to create any clear cut chances.

However, Poland were conceding needless free-kicks on the edge of their area and were nearly made to pay for their reckless defending.

Plasil's excellent delivery found Tomas Sivok but his header was blocked and then instantly punched away by Tyton.

The Czechs were rewarded for their second-half persistence in the 72nd minute as Jiracek gave them a deserved lead.

Baros ran through on goal before sliding the ball to Jiracek, who cut past Boenisch and coolly slotted past Tyton.

Poland head coach Franciszek Smuda threw caution to the wind, bringing on Pawel Brozek and Adrian Mierzejewski immediately after but they failed to test Cech although the Czech Republic defended stoutly.

However, in injury time Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski went through on goal and lifted the ball over Cech only for Tomas Sivok to head off the line, with the final whistle blown immediately after to herald scenes of jubilation from Bilek's men.

PA

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us