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Rediff.com  » Sports » Jiracek goal helps Czechs knock Poland out

Jiracek goal helps Czechs knock Poland out

June 17, 2012 02:52 IST

Poland slumped out of Euro 2012 on Saturday after losing 1-0 to the Czech Republic who reached the quarter-finals as Group A winners after a game in which the co-hosts will rue a host of early missed chances.

The Czechs, without injured captain Tomas Rosicky, took the lead in the 72nd minute when Petr Jiracek took a pass from Milan Baros and jinked away from a defender before slotting past keeper Przemyslaw Tyton for his second goal of the tournament.

Scorer Czech Republic's Petr Jiracek (left) celebrates with teammate Milan Baros after scoring against Poland on SaturdayThe Czechs advance with Greece, who upset Russia 1-0 in Warsaw, and will play the runners-up of Group B.

Poland, roared on by the home crowd and needing a win to go through, started the game at a furious pace and will regret their profligacy after missing several chances to go ahead.

The Czechs were fortunate when a sloppy back pass left striker Robert Lewandowski with a chance but he skewed his effort off target under pressure from Theodor Gebre Selassie.

Clearly missing their playmaker Rosicky, the Czechs eventually settled down after a nervy opening 15 minutes and began putting the Polish defence under pressure with Vaclav Pilar providing a threat down the wing most of the night.

The Czechs started the second half strongly knowing they needed a goal to book a quarter-final ticket with Pilar causing all sorts of headaches with his runs at the defence.

The pressure finally paid off with Jiracek's neat finish after a pass from much-criticised forward Milan Baros who played his best game of the tournament so far.

Poland frantically poured forward in search of an equaliser to keep their hopes alive but the Czechs defended in waves and held on to advance to the last eight.

Photograph: Dominic Ebenbichler / Reuters

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