Greece vs. Czech Republic: 6 Things We Learned from Euro 2012 Group A Clash
Greece played the Czech Republic today, with the latter running out 2-1 victors thanks to goals from Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar inside the first six minutes of play.
With Russia and Poland still waiting to kick off their Group A game, what does the result mean in the grand scheme of things?
Well, it's all speculative at this stage, of course, but here are six things we've learned from Greece and Czech Republic's Group A clash.
Greece Have No Invention
After winning Euro 2004 with solid defensive play, Greece haven't evolved over the past eight years.
Greece offered nothing in attack against the Czech Republic that would suggest they could score multiple goals—their only goal coming courtesy of a Petr Cech mistake.
Hoisted long balls to the strikers were far too easy for the Czech defense to deal with.
Czech Republic Will Progress
Going into their final group game, Czech Republic will face co-hosts Poland in what will likely be their easiest clash of the tournament—on paper, at least.
With Poland likely to come unstuck against Russia later today, the Czech Republic's game against Poland could be a winner-takes-all scenario—with "all" being progression to the knockout stages, of course.
I think Czech Republic will sneak through at the expense of the co-hosts.
Russia Will Be the First Team in the Knockout Stages
Czech Republic's win over Greece means that Russia can secure progression to the knockout stages today—if they defeat Poland.
Poland are one of the weakest sides in the competition, so Russia could potentially give them a trouncing if the Sbornaya are on their game.
Don't be surprised to see a big goal margin at the end of today's action, with Alan Dzagoev and Andrey Arshavin already dominating the headlines from impressive displays last time out.
Greece Are Going out
Whilst technically still in the competition, Greece will probably have to beat Russia in their final group match to stand any chance of progression.
With Russia being the strongest team in their group, the omen doesn't look good for the Euro 2004 champions.
Unfortunately for the Greeks, they are my tip to be one of the first squads to be heading home from Euro 2012.
Czech Republic Need Rosicky Fit
Tomas Rosicky didn't come out for the Czech Republic's second half against Greece, and the reasons for that have yet to be clarified.
His absenteeism from the Czech midfield caused a major shift in possession and domination—something that the Czechs cannot afford when playing co-hosts Poland in their next game.
If Czech Republic are going to progress, they need Rosicky fit and available.
Euro 2012 Is Full of Surprises
With two teams generally regarded as being defensive-minded, it was a pleasant surprise to see two goals scored in the opening six minutes of the Greece vs. Czech Republic game.
Whilst the football was hardly Brazilian-esque, Greece and the Czech Republic played some intricate football on occasion, showing that European Championship football is rarely straight forward.
For all the predictions and ideas that I have just touted in this article, there really still is a sense of "anything could happen" as we go forward in the competition. That's what makes it so intriguing.
On Twitter? Follow me @petercwebster where I post all my B/R content.
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