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.
In another tale of two halves for Greece, José Holebas was consistent on the left side of the pitch for Greece.
He had a relatively solid game defensively and especially contributed on the attack for Greece in the second half.
Let's face it—if Petr Cech hadn't made a mess of that seemingly harmless cross, Greece wouldn't have gotten that goal.
In all seriousness, Giorgos Karagounis pulled the strings in midfield again for Greece, pretty effectively at times.
He might have embellished some of his fouls suffered—which I'm starting to hate—but oh, well.
Coming on as a substitute and scoring your team's only goal, sparking your tepid offense and igniting hope into your side gets you Man of the Match honors—at least for your team.
It was the substitute again who takes top honors for Greece, except this time it was Fanis Gekas who took advantage of poor goalkeeping to steal a goal back for Greece.
Despite TomáŠ Hübschman playing extremely well for the Czech Republic today, Getty Images has zero photos of him from today's game.
Hübschman was one of the midfield catalysts for the Czechs today with almost every Czech attack moving through him.
He definitely earned his start today and for subsequent games.
Václav Pilař snagged his second goal in as many games for the Czech Republic, although this one won't get any beauty points—he fell on the ball, and his knee propelled it into the back of the net for the Czechs' second goal of the night.
On top of his goal, Pilař was omnipresent in the attacking third, constantly providing attack options on the right side.
Even though he played well in the loss to Russia, Pilař stepped up his game today and performed brilliantly.
For the second straight game, Petr Jiráček has been the best player for the Czechs.
He scored the Czechs' first goal in the first three minutes of the match, making a brilliant run up the middle and slotting the ball home.
He was a force on the right side of the pitch all night, controlling the tempo on that side, attacking effectively on the counter and defending efficiently in the defensive third.
If Petr Jiráček isn't playing for a different team by the end of the summer, I'll eat my shorts.
Man of the Match: Petr Jiráček
See above—the man is a revelation for the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic get their first points of the tournament in a convincing win over Greece, and Petr Jiráček gets Man of the Match honors again.
Who was your Man of the Match? Let me know in the comments section below!
Happy Euros and cheers!