Co-hosts Poland crash out of the tournament with Petr Jiracek breaking the hearts of home fans scoring the only goal of the game. The Wolfsburg man kept his calm and scored the goal that ensured Czech Republic’s progression as Group A winners.
Poland had to win to qualify and thus started brightly with Lewandowski winning a free kick in the second minute of the game. Czech Republic struggled to clear the ball as Poland had their first shot but off target. A minute later Czech had their opportunity with Pilar getting the ball inside the box but completely miscued his shot much to the pleasure of Polska fans.
Poland kept up the pressure and did not let Czech side keep possession of the ball. On the contrary Polish side were not able to take advantage of their possession as they struck first 4 shots off targets with Lewandowski missing a clear chance. The first shot on target came in the 21st minute when Boenisch struck the ball sweetly from 30 odd yards and Cech made a fantastic save to keep the sides level.
After long period of frustration Czech had a brilliant opportunity to take the lead with Baros breaking the offside trap successfully, failed to control the ball. The Euro 2004 top scorer looked at the linesman expecting a flag but he was clearly on side. Czech grew in confidence as time went by and created several chances at the end of the half but failed to capitalize as the teams went into dressing room all square.
Czech started the second half on the front foot knowing that a draw might not be enough as Greece led Russia 1-0. Poland lost their calm and started losing possession easily as Czech continued to attack. Pilar tormented the Polish side with his pace on the left flank and he first real chance came from the free kick he won. Sivok was unmarked at the far post and headed on target but Polish keeper Tyton made a superb reflex save.
Poland deployed their resources in attack which gave Czech the opportunity to counter with a lot of space in the opponent’s half. In the 72nd minute Poland gave away the ball cheaply, Baros took advantage and ran in space towards opponent’s box and slipped the ball to Jiracek who stepped inside his marker to slot the ball home.
With time running out Poland reacted with two attacking substitutions but the goal left scars from which they could not recover. For a moment Milan Baros looked to have sealed the game by scoring, only to find himself offside. The home fans kept on singing to somehow lift their side but it was not going to be their day as co-hosts finished the group rock bottom.
Czech Republic – Petr Jiracek (72)
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