Euro 2008, Russia lost their first game 4-1, four years on they have dismantled Czech Republic in Euro 2012 opener with the same scoreline. The talented youngster Alan Dzagoev has announced himself and is in the limelight for becoming the tournament’s best young player.
Czech Republic started the match brightly and maintained possession in Russian half for the most part of first ten minutes. The flanks were their main area of threat but the crosses were not productive and Bilek’s men could not create any clear cut opportunity instead it was Russia who started to look threatening on the counter attack. The first real chance came in the 14th minute when Arshavin and Zhirkov cleverly combined to set up Kerzhakov only for the Russian to fire wide.
A minute later though Dzagoev initiated counter attack for Russia and finished emphatically after Kerzhakov saw his header rebound of the post. Czech’s defense started crumbling with Russia’s continued pressure and Dzagoev should have doubled the lead in the 19th minute missing 1v1 opportunity, firing his shot wide.
Czech tried to respond and did via Rezek’s good work on the far side but once again in vain. On the other hand, Russia were in no mood of missing their chances as Plasil lost the ball and another counter attack found the man who scored 2 goals against Italy, Shirokov chipped the ball over diving Cech to make it 2-0. Russia could have had a penalty minutes later for a foul on Arshavin but Howard Webb was not convinced. Czech players were finding it hard to gain possession as Russia continued attacking but survived further damages to go into half time 2 goals down.
Bilek looked to have changed strategy, bringing on Tomas Hubschman for Razek but again Russia started the second half where they left the first. Early on, Kerzhakov had 2 players waiting for the cross but opted to shoot and missed one of his many chances. Just like the first half, the goal came against the run of play. This time Czech came up with a fantastic move and pass from the midfield combined with equally brilliant run of Pilar who rounded the goal keeper and finished in the bottom corner.
Despite the goal Russia kept on creating chance after chance particularly from the right wing but Kerzhakov, who desperately wanted to be on the score sheet missed them all. Unsurprisingly he was substituted in the 73rd minute for Roman Pavlyuchenko who made immediate impact. Six minutes after coming on the former Tottenham man set up Dzagoev with a neat pass who smashed it past Cech to make it 3-1. Adding insult to injury Pavlyuchenko added a fourth as Czech defense failed to win the ball from the Russian striker who found a yard space and finished in the top corner.
The game was all but over as Czech Republic tried to put all their resources in attack but failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Russia completely dominated and deservedly beat Czech Republic 4-1.
Russia – Alan Dzagoev (15, 79) Roman Shirokov (24) Roman Pavlyuchenko (82)
Czech Republic – Vaclav Pilar (52)
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