Victory over Greeks revives Czech challenge

Greece 1 Czech Republic 2

Early goals from Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar saw the Czech Republic revive their Euro 2012 campaign with victory over Group A rivals Greece in Wroclaw.

The Czechs were 2-0 to the good inside just six minutes as midfielders Jiracek and Pilar made the most of some generous Greek defending.

Substitute Fanis Gekas pulled a goal back after a terrible error by Petr Cech, but Fernando Santos' side lacked the guile to carve out an equaliser.

The Czechs' opening 4-1 loss to Russia left them knowing another defeat would end their hopes of reaching the last eight. but they could hardly have wished for a better opening.

Jiracek put them ahead in the third minute as he ran on to Tomas Hubschman's pass to fire home, despite Greek keeper Kostas Chalkias getting a hand to his left-footed shot.

Chalkias was then at fault for the second goal as he failed to cut out Theodor Gebre Selassie's low cross to allow Pilar to tap in his second goal of the tournament.

The lively Pilar came close to adding a third as he played a neat one-two on the edge of the area before firing just wide of the left-hand post.

Georgios Samaras had Greece's first sight of goal but the Celtic striker made a mess of meeting Vassilis Torosidis' cross.

Chalkias' miserable day continued as he was forced off after just 21 minutes, having pulled up after playing a pass out to his defenders, with Michalis Sifakis coming on to replace him.

Czech captain Tomas Rosicky was booked after his high boot caught his Greece counterpart Giorgios Karagounis on the head but the Czechs' dominance continued as Sifakis was forced into his first save by a low Rosicky drive.

Greece thought they had pulled a goal back five minutes before the break as Georgios Fotakis headed in a Torosidis cross, but he was wrongly ruled to have been offside.

It should have been 3-0 seconds after the restart as the Czechs, whose captain Rosicky was replaced by Daniel Kolar at the break, again surged forward.

Gebre Selassie found more joy down the right but Milan Baros could not get the ball out of his feet when just 10 yards out.

But it was the Greeks who found the net next thanks to a calamitous mistake from Cech.

The Chelsea keeper came racing out for an aimless long ball but, distracted by Tomas Sivok, he lost control and substitute Gekas had the simple task of directing the loose ball into an empty net.

Buoyed by the goal Greece finally began to exert some control on the game with Karagounis and Samaras becoming increasingly prominent.

But they struggled to create any genuine clear-cut chances, and struggled to test Cech after the Chelsea keeper's blunder, as the Czechs comfortably saw out the closing stages for a vital win.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week