Greece vs. Russia: As It Happened
Greece 1 Russia 0
Euro 2012 Group A decider from National Stadium, Warsaw (Full Time)
Greece (4-3-3): Sifakis; Torosidis, K. Papadopoulos, Sokratis, Tzavelas; Maniatis, Katsouranis, Karagounis (Makos 67'); Salpingidis (Ninis 83'), Gekas (Holebas 64'), Samaras.
Russia (4-3-3): Malafeev; Anyukov (Izmailov 81'), Ignasevich, Berezutskiy, Zhirkov; Shirokov, Denisov, Gushakov (Pogrebnyak 72'); Dzagoev, Kerzhakov (Pavlyuchenko 46'), Arshavin.
Follow this link for live commentary of the other Group A fixture being played simultaneously, Poland vs. Czech Republic.
That's it for me, Mohamed Al-Hendy. Hope you enjoyed it. I'll have post-game analysis up on my profile shortly, so check back later today for that.
Greece win! Against all expectations, they qualify as runner-ups in Group A; the Czech Republic qualify top of the group with their win over Poland. Russia are bounced, in what must be a massive disappointment for all involved.
Who would've thought that the Czechs and Greeks would be the ones to qualify from Group A? I personally had them finishing 3rd and 4th respectively.
93'—Russia are pushing everyone up, but the crosses continue to fail. Yuri Zhirkov can expect an awful reception when he returns to Russia; his crosses have been awful at all the times that Russia have been desperate for a good cross.
89'—This game looks about ready to fizzle out, as does the Czech Republic vs Poland game. Heartbreakingly, after being so good in their first game, Russia look to be bounced out of this tournament.
One man who hasn't given up yet though is Dzagoev, who earns a corner for Russia. A good cross is put in the box, but the header is weak as the Russian players miscommunicate in the box.
86'—And of course, as soon as he is taken off, he bounces back up and gets ready to re-enter the game.
Zhirkov loses the ball on the left flank again, and it goes out for a goal-kick. Not a great game at all from him today.
84'—CHANCE FOR RUSSIA!
Russia finally get a good chance as Arshavin's cross meets Dzagoev's head, and his header just barely fizzes past the post.
A Greek defender goes down trying to waste time, and the Russians are not happy. Didn't look like there was much in the challenge honestly...
The last of Greek's oldies, Salpingidis, is taken off for the young talent Sotiris Ninis. Don't know if this is exactly the game you'd want to introduce a guy like him into, but he is a pair of fresh legs at the very least.
79'—Great run by Samaras on the outlet once again; the guy is a great dribbler and excellent time-waster at the very least. He's fouled and buys Greece some time before the ball returns to Russia.
Off a Russian corner, Denisov fires another bullet at goal, but Sifakis gets down well to stop it.
Expect a maelstrom of Russian pressure for the final minutes of this game as they push desperately for an equalizer.
Yuri Zhirkov goes down on the left edge of the box with what looks like a clear foul, but the ref makes no call. I suppose that somewhat cancels out with his no call on the other side...sort of anyway (not really).
Oh, and for those wanting an update on the other game, the Czech Republic have taken the lead, meaning Russia will be eliminated if they fail to equalize in this game. Get ready for a tense 15 minutes...
71'—GREECE HIT THE CROSSBAR!
Can you believe that! After Yuri Zhirkov picks up a yellow card just outside the box for a foul on Salpingidis, Greece hit the free kick on the crossbar! Tzavellas hit that one.
It would really be almost unfair now for Greece to miss out on the quarters with the performance they've put in.
Karagounis off for Makos.
Also, Gekas was taken off for Holebas, a left back, a few minutes earlier.
Seems as though everyone agrees:
Greece with the better chances, Russia just not able to get going. Greece have been denied a clear penalty. Karagounis booked and banned.— ESPN Soccernet (@ESPNSoccernet) June 16, 2012
Absolute travesty Giorgos Karagounis booked there! Stone waller! Disgraceful decision, captain to miss the next game, if Greece get there!— Jack Rathborn (@jackrathborn) June 16, 2012
And of course, Mirror Football with the comic relief:
Karagounishave just had a WALLSTONE PELANTY turned down against Russia. Ref must have thought he'd slipped on some... GREECE!— MirrorFootball (@MirrorFootball) June 16, 2012
61'—YELLOW CARD FOR A DIVE!
Awful decision by the referee...books Karagounis for a dive when it looked like a clear penalty.
Karagounis cannot believe his misfortune, and looks an absolute mess for a few minutes before calming himself back down.
Would really hate to see Greece bounced after that; they've not had any good fortune from the refs all tournament long.
59'—GLORIOUS CHANCE FOR GREECE!
Torosidis of Greece dribbles through about three Russians defenders before getting his cross in, and if not for some great defending by Aleksandr Anyukov, that'd been a goal.
Instead, it goes out for a corner, and another, before the Russians clear.
Greece have really been living off these half-chances...but hey, it's been working for them. They're 30 minutes from a shock qualification for the knockout rounds.
Igor Denisov decides to pull the trigger from distance, and actually doesn't miss the target by too much. Still, Russia's shots on target tally remains at 1 (out of 18).
56'—Samaras has had no locked in this half. He's made good moves, but both times he's been fouled the call has gone against him.
In other news, the Russians continue to have no luck against a stubborn but solid Greek defense.
55'—10 minutes gone, and Russia don't look much closer to getting the goal they need to be assured of progression to the knockout rounds.
Greece are defending pretty deeply now, knowing that the current result will be enough to get through to the quarterfinals.
52'—If things stay as they are right now, Greece and Russia will qualify for the knockout rounds, with the Czech Republic missing out despite being tied with both teams on points. However, if either the Czechs or Poles break the deadlock in their game, and Greece stays in the lead, Russia will miss out.
48'—Samaras makes a good run down the pitch on the counter, but is caught by a Russia defender and has no outlets for support.
On the next Greek counter, he once again pushes through midfield, but his shot leaves much to be desired.
Good effort though from the big man who got much criticism in the early games of the tournament.
SECOND HALF IS UNDERWAY!
Roman Pavyluchenko on for Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
Bold move by Dick Advocaat, but the right one. Russia need Pavyluchenko's firepower up front...we'll see if he can bring Russia back into this game.
SI.com's Grant Wahl reminds us that head-to-head, not goal difference, will decide who progresses to the knockout rounds if three teams are tied on points at the end of today's games, as they are now:
Important to remember that if 3 teams tie on points, tie-breaker prioritizes "head-to-head" in games involving ALL 3 teams.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 16, 2012
According to WhoScored.com, Russia have had 67-percent possession, 16 of the game's 20 shots, and 87-percent pass accuracy to Greece's 69...yet they're down 1-0 at half-time.
The key stat perhaps is that of the 16 shots Russia have taken, only one has been on target, and seven have been blocked. Meanwhile, of Greece's four shots, two have been on target; the second being Karagounis' goal.
That goal from Karagounis was virtually the last kick of the half. Hard luck on the Russians...they dominated the half yet go off the pitch down 1-0, and are staring disqualification in the face.
That's what happens when you fail to convert your chances though.
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