Greece vs. Czech Republic Euro 2012: Counting Down the Men of the Match

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Greece vs. Czech Republic Euro 2012: Counting Down the Men of the Match
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

This is the ninth installment of a tournament-long series in which I pick three players from each team that could contend for Man of the Match. The three players from each team will be ranked third place, runner-up and Man of the Match, with a Man of the Match for the whole game picked at the end. Happy Euros!

The second round of games kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with Greece taking on the Czech Republic in Group A.

Greece were lucky to get a draw against co-hosts Poland in their opening match, while the Czechs were manhandled by Russia.

There was some slight trepidation heading into the match, since neither team played very attractive football on opening day. Would one of the squads be able to capture the audience's attention?

The Czechs lit it up right away, going up 1-0 within the first three minutes. Petr Jiráček, one of the few bright spots for the Czechs against Russia, took a through-ball from Tomáš Hübschman, took a couple dribbles and shot past Kostas Chalkias, who was probably unlucky to keep it out.

This was the attacking football the Czechs needed, and it paid off.

The Czech Republic weren't satisfied with the one goal and doubled their advantage three minutes later. Right-back Theodor Gebre Selassie ran dartingly up and along the touchline and angled the ball back for Václav Pilař who bundled it home for his second goal of the tournament.

Six minutes gone, two goals for the Czechs and Greece were left wondering what hit them. 

It went from bad to worse for the Greeks when their No. 1 keeper, Kostas Chalkias, was forced off by injury and replaced by Michalis Sifakis.

The Czechs went into the half with a 2-0 lead and a huge amount of confidence. Greece went into the half wondering how they were going to turn this around. 

Greece played brighter at the beginning of the second half and were rewarded with a goal very much like their goal against Poland. Petr Cech looked to handle a perfectly innocuous cross but somehow bungled it for no reason and let the ball fly through his hands. The ball fell to substitute Fanis Gekas who merely needed to pass the ball into the net.

Petr Cech's butterfingers could end up costing the Czech Republic once again. (Remember Turkey four years ago?)

The Greeks couldn't mount another successful comeback, however, and the Czechs took the three points.

Here are my picks for Men of the Match for Greece vs. the Czech Republic. 

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