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Euro 2012: Emotions run high as Poland, Russia tie; Czech Republic rolls
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Police said 15 people were injured and more than 100 detained in violent clashes in Warsaw as Russian supporters marched to the stadium. It was a display of patriotism that angered Poles mindful of the occupations their nation has undergone at the hands of their neighbors.
Police later fired rubber bullets at a group of fans who attacked them in a separate incident near an outdoor fan zone while watching the match.
Alan Dzagoev gave Russia a 37th-minute lead with a headed goal that would have put the team through to the quarterfinals. But Jakub Blaszczykowski lifted the roof with an equalizer 20 minutes later for the co-hosts, leaving Group A wide open with one round of matches remaining.
“We have to believe in our team,” Blaszczykowski said. “We have a positive energy and we get that energy from our supporters.
“If we win the third game we are promoted to the knockout stage.”
Earlier, the Czech Republic beat Greece 2-1 to revive its chances of advancing following an opening-day 4-1 loss to Russia. Greece, which won the tournament in 2004, slipped to the bottom of the group on one point and needs to beat the Russians in its last game to go through.
The 50,000-capacity National Stadium in the Polish capital was a sea of red and white - the national colors of both countries - as the two sets of flag-waving fans goaded each other provocatively with chants before and during a gripping, end-to-end game.
While the match appeared to pass off without incident, police had used water cannons and tear gas to quell disturbances outside as several people lay injured and bleeding with sirens blaring and flares exploding around them.
While the visitors’ mobile forward line continued to create openings in the second half, their attacking intent left them open at the back and Blaszczykowski capitalized. The winger ran on to a pass, cut inside and sent a curling left-foot drive into the far corner.
“I think we played very open football in the second half and we gave the opportunity for the Polish players to play on the counter attack and they used it,” said Arshavin, whose team had 57 percent possession. “I think that we were a little bit tired in the second half.”
Russia is top of the group on four points — one ahead of the Czech Republic, which recovered from its first match and it did so courtesy of some porous defending by a Greek side that prides itself on stubbornness at the back.
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