The End Of Group A

Day 8 at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine brought the final round of games in Group A and all 4 teams could still qualify for the quarter finals.

The Russians were top of the group and clear favourites to qualify when their game against bottom of the table Greece, who were huge outsiders to progress.

The 3rd placed co-hosts Poland and the Czech Republic in 2nd place were in a straight shootout for the other quarter final spot.

Bored to death with hearing the permutations any result would have on the group, there were countless repeats.

Basically; if Russia avoided defeat they were through.

The winner of the Poland and Czech Republic game went through, a draw would see The Czechs through.

Greece had to win and hope Poland didn’t.

Both games were played simultaneously meaning frequent checks occurred on the benches and in the stands with the players on the pitch absolutely clueless where their fate lay.

Poland were riding a wave of national hope when they kicked off and looked certain to score with continuous waves of attack but were unable to take any chances. As the game wore on anxiety spread amongst The Polish and Czech Republic began to dominate.

A fine passing move around the Poland 18 yard box was finished off by Petr Jiracek, firing the Czech Republic in to the quarter finals and dumping Poland out on home soil.

Greece looked hugely unlikely to spring a surprise and beat Russia. The Russians topped the group with an impressive win and not so impressive draw from their first 2 games making them favourites to top the group.

A Yuri Zhirkov mistake was capitalised upon and Greek captain Giorgios Karagounis drilled home the opener and eventual winner. As in 2004 the Greek defence held firm and stole a 1-0 win, Russia were eliminated.

Nobody saw it come just like 8 years ago but the Greeks upset the odds and are joined in the quarter finals by a solid looking Czech Republic side. They might not be anywhere near favourites to lift the title but they will be looking to spoil a few more parties.

Sam Jewell

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