Greece vs. Russia  1 - 0

Article

Euro 2012 Group A: Greece 1 Russia 0

17 June 2012 01:14

There were echoes of Greece's Euro 2004-winning campaign as they advanced to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 with a 1-0 win over Russia.

Despite being under pressure for large parts of the game the Greeks took the lead in first-half stoppage time as Giorgios Karagounis punished some sloppy defending.

They remained resolute in defence throughout the second half to secure a famous victory, and eliminating Russia from contention after the Czech Republic defeated co-hosts Poland in Group A's other game.

Greece came into the game knowing they needed a win to ensure qualification and they were the first to pull a save from the opposing keeper.

Karagounis' near-post delivery was flicked on target by Kostas Katsouranis but a fully-stretched Vyacheslav Malafeev clawed the ball away.

Russia responded positively and three minutes later Alan Dzagoev broke in from the right following a quick throw. Andrey Arshavin got on the end of his cross 10 yards from goal and Michalis Sifakis was forced to parry the ball away.

Dick Advocaat's side were in the ascendancy and had two great chances to go ahead. Firstly, Aleksandr Kerzhakov failed in his quest to get his first shot of the tournament on target as his volley bent agonisingly wide of the far post. Then, moments later, Yury Zhirkov's cutback for Dzagoev was intercepted by Katsouranis.

By the half-hour mark, the Russians had taken control of the match but were more often than not being restricted to shooting from range. Yet when in possession the Greeks lacked ambition and committed minimal numbers to their attacks.

Zhirkov fired over five minutes before the break but Fernando Santos' side held out and in stoppage time Karagounis fired Greece into a surprise lead.

A misplaced header by Sergey Ignashevich was capitalised on by the 35-year-old who capped his 120th international appearance, equalling the country's all-time record, by surging into the area and slamming a low shot underneath Malafeev.

Roman Pavlyuchenko replaced the profligate Kerzhakov at half-time but they continued to struggle against the resilient Greek defence. With space limited in the final third Igor Denisov plumped for an effort from distance only to see it swing wide.

Greece remained a threat on the counterattack and after Aleksandr Anyukov somehow cleared Vasilis Torosidis' cross away from inside the six-yard box, Karagounis received a booking that will keep him out of the next match for diving in the area though it looked like a certain penalty.

Santos signalled his intent to see out the game with the solitary goal by replacing striker Theofanis Gekas with left-back Jose Holebas 25 minutes from time.

But the Greeks almost extended their lead in the 70th minute when Gergios Tzavellas' well-struck free-kick rattled the frame of the goal.

In their desperation to find an equaliser Advocaat's side became extremely disjointed and another long-range attempt from Denisov was saved by Sifakis. With five minutes of normal time remaining Dzagoev came close to restoring parity but his header from Arshavin's cross shaded the outside of the post.

It is a result that turned Group A on its head as despite having topped the group before kick-off Russia crashed out.

The win for Czech Republic put them into the quarter-finals as group winners with Greece following them through in second position ahead of Russia and Poland respectively.

Article

Euro 2012 Group A preview: Greece v Russia

16 June 2012 21:26

Russia can seal progression from the Euro 2012 group stages with a draw against Greece in Warsaw on Saturday.

Dick Advocaat's side have been one of the most impressive at the tournament so far, following up a 4-1 opening day thrashing of the Czech Republic with an entertaining 1-1 draw against co-hosts Poland.

Midfielder Alan Dzagoev has starred, netting three goals, while the performances of Andrey Arshavin and Roman Shirokov have also come in for praise.

Despite the fact that a point would be enough to earn Russia progression to the quarter-finals, Shirokov insists they will be determined to produce victory in the Group A tussle.

"Of course a draw with Greece will also put us into the knockout stage but we should win and stay in Warsaw (for the quarter-finals)," Shirokov said.

"Any other result will be unacceptable."

His thoughts were echoed by goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev who says his team should focus on winning and nothing else.

"We also need to forget that a draw will also put us into the knockout stage and score," Malafeev said.

"Once, twice - as much as we can."

Advocaat is likely to replace misfiring forward Alexander Kerzhakov with Roman Pavlyuchenko up front.

Kerzhakov had seven attempts on goal that were off target – the most recorded for any match by a player at the European Championship finals – in the opener against the Czechs, and wasted several opportunities against Poland as well.

Pavlyuchenko, who moved to Lokomotiv Moscow from Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window, has scored 21 goals in 49 matches for Russia, including one in his side's opening day victory against the Czechs.

Apart from bringing Pavlyuchenko in, Russia are unlikely to change a side which is now unbeaten in 16 matches.

For Greece, anything less than a win and they will be packing their bags and heading home.

A brave 1-1 draw with Poland in the opener – in which they had a goal disallowed for offside and had a penalty saved – was followed by a 2-1 defeat against the Czech Republic.

They were made to pay for a slow start in that fixture, conceding two goals in the first six minutes in Tuesday's match in Wroclaw before Theofanis Gekas gave Greece some hope with a goal in the 53rd minute.

But despite having more possession and shots on target than Czech Republic, Greece could not find an equaliser putting them in a desperate situation against Russia.