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EURO 2012 LIVE: Final Group A matches
WARSAW, POLAND (AP) - Co-host Poland plays the Czech Republic, and Russia takes on Greece in the final Group A matches at the European Championship. The four teams are battling for two spots in the quarterfinals.
Here is a running account of Saturday's action. All times are local to Poland.
2300: Here's AP sports writer Graham Dunbar's roundup of tonight's EURO action.
WARSAW _ Co-host Poland and Group A favorite Russia crashed out of the European Championship on Saturday, as the Czech Republic and Greece scored 1-0 wins to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Czechs won the group as a second-half goal from Petr Jiracek beat Poland, which wasted a series of chances early in the game in rainy Wroclaw.
Greece recaptured the spirit and style of its Euro 2004 title triumph to upset Russia, which led the group before kickoff.
Captain Giorgos Karagounis scored against the run of play with the final kick of the first half, and Greece hung on though an expected Russian onslaught that never came.
The streets of Warsaw were calm before Russia's return to action in the city four days after violent clashes with Poland fans.
2255: What are the odds on Angela Merkel and the Greek prime minister - whoever it may be - indulging in a spot of footballing diplomacy in Gdansk on Friday?
2250: Russia will look back upon that defeat and wonder how they lost. They had 25 shots, 10 of which were on target in comparison to the Greeks managing five attempts, of which two hit the target and most importantly, one hitting the back of the net.
2246: Tomorrow, we will find out who Greece and the Czech Republic will play in the quarterfinal. As group winners, the Czech Republic will play the runner up of Group B with Greece playing the winner. It is all still to pay for there, with every side having a possible route to the knock out stage when Portugal takes on the Netherlands and Germany plays Denmark. But tonight, the headlines are dominated by Greece and the Czech republic qualifying and co host Poland crashing out of the tournament along with Russia.
2244:So there you have it. Greece beating Russia is the shock result of the evening and the Greeks are jubilant in the National Stadium. Russia had so much of the ball but clear cut chances were few and far between, Alan Dzagoev going closest with a glancing header. The Russian fans are in tears but their pain is nothing compared to that of co host Poland. The players applaud their fans, who created such a vociferous atmosphere before kick off but now, all the cheers comes from the Czech corner of the stadium. They are through to the last eight with Greece.
2240: PhillipsIan: Greeks delirious, Russian fans howling in derision as Euro 2012 game ends 1-0 to Greece. Russia eliminated. (via Twitter)
2240: The Czechs are euphoric, Poland is distraught. Still time left in Warsaw between Greece and Russia though and Greece leads 1-0.
2237: RESULT: GREECE 1 RUSSIA 0. Greece qualify, Russia eliminated.
2235: RESULT: CZECH REPUBLIC 1 POLAND 0. Czechs qualify, Poland eliminated.
2224: Russia coach Dick Advocaat is throwing everything at Greece now. Pavel Progebnyak and Marat Izmailov have been brought on, joining Roman Pavlyuchenko in a front three for Russia in a desperate attempt to score and remain in the competition.
2220: Nervous times for Poland fans. Their side has fifteen minutes to score twice and remain in the tournament. They are losing 1-0 thanks to that Petr Jiracek goal for the Czech Republic and the co host must win to go through.
2217: Alan Dzagoev has received a booking too, for Russia and the joint top scorer of the tournament will miss the quarterfinal if they go through. Which as it stands, they don't.
2217: In Warsaw, Girgos Tzavelas steps up and curls a free kick against the bar for Greece. That could have sealed it for them!
2215: As it stands Greece and the Czech Republic are through to the quarters; Russia and Poland are out.
2214: Is this it for the co host Poland? Petr Jiracek receives the ball on the left of the penalty area , darts inside a Polish defender who is thrown off balance and slips to the ground and Jiracek pokes the ball beyond Tytan and into the far corner of the net. The Czechs will qualify for the knock out stage if they hold on, along with Greece.
GOAL! CZECH REPUBLIC 1 POLAND 0 (Jiracek)
2207: Greek striker Fanis Gekas is replaced by Jose Holebas., a defender, for Greece.
2204: In Warsaw, Greece's Karagounis takes a tumble in the penalty area. The referee, Jonas Eriksson of Sweden, instantly blows his whistle, gets out the yellow card... and shows it to Karagounis for diving. Good decision from the referee as replays show the Greece captain kicked the leg of the defender and threw himself to the ground. He is livid at the decision and misses the next match through suspension for being booked twice.
2202: Free kick to the Czech Republic on the edge of the left hand side of the penalty area. Wasilewski brings down Limbersky.
2200: I'm afraid Karagounis' goal has been the only real bright spot in either match. As I write this, Russia's denisov lets rip with a 20-yard shot that goes just wide of Petr Cech's goal. Poland have yet to carve out a chance in the early stages of the second half. Meanwhile in Warsaw, Russia has enjoyed plenty of possession but are finding the Greek defense difficult to break down. Greece looks happy to sit back and defend its 1-0 lead, judging by how it has set out in the second half.
2153: Some of Poland's tackles are becoming a little agricultural and Scottish referee Mr. Thompson will need to be firm.
2150: Eugen Polanski of Poland has been booked for a late sliding challenge. The co host is looking very fired up in the early stages of the second half.
2148: Roman Pavlyuchenko has replaced Aleksandr Kerzhakov at half time for Russia and begins the second half.
2140: There are some very nervous looking home fans at the Municipal Stadium. Poland, as it stands, is out of Euro 2012, unless they can secure a win in the second half against the Czech Republic.
2140: The onus is on co host Poland to attack in Wroclaw, as they know they must win to go through. But that last ditch goal from Greece in Warsaw means that as it stands, Greece and Russia both qualify for the knock out stage and both teams at the Municipal Stadium go home. The Czech Republic must score in the second half if things between Russia and Greece stays the same. Russia has been the better side in Warsaw but sloppy defending from Zhirkov sees Greece have the lead at the half time break.
2140: That Karagounis goal could, just could, set up a Greece vs Germany quarterfinal match which would pit the financial haves of Europe against the have-nots.
2135: That's a great finish by the Greece captain Karagounis! Zhirkov, who has done so well going forward, lapses in his defensive duties and Karagounis gets ahead of him on the left of the penalty area to blast a fierce, low drive that arrows past Malafeev and into the far corner. The Russia goalkeeper could have done better. In the other match, Czech Republic and Poland head into the dressing rooms level at 0-0.
2132: GOAL! GREECE 1, RUSSIA 0 (Karagounis)
2128: Three minutes to go until halftime.
(at)PhillipsIan: Greece holding its own vs. Russia at Euro 2012. Last in group, but a win could set up politically-charged quarter final clash with Germany. (via Twitter)
GREECE VS. RUSSIA: Zhirkov nearly breaks the deadlock for Russia. He receives the ball from a short corner and shapes to cross, but instead knocks it past a defender and unleashes a great shot that flies just over.
2118: GREECE VS. RUSSIA: Russia goes close again in Warsaw, where it's a lovely summer's evening and the stadium roof is open. Arshavin plays the ball into the center and fellow forward Kerzhakov is waiting to prod home, but the Greek defense clears.
2112: Still 0-0 in both matches.
CZECH VS. POLAND: Actually, the weather appears to be getting worse in Wroclaw. There were just rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning. There's not going to be another suspension, is there? The players are absolutely soaked!
2105: CZECH VS. POLAND: It's raining in Wroclaw, but nothing like the downpour we saw in Donetsk on Friday for the France vs. Ukraine match. The Czechs have managed to take the sting out of a bright start from Poland.
GREECE VS. RUSSIA: Russia captain Arshavin tries his luck with a low shot from outside of the penalty area, but drags it wide.
2100: CZECH VS. POLAND: Lewandowski misses a great chance to give Poland the lead! On a quick break, Obraniak picks out the run of the striker in the penalty area and he holds off the challenge of Gabre Selassie but slices his left-foot shot wide. He should have tried to shoot across Cech there. That was a great chance to give the co-host a dream start.
GREECE VS. RUSSIA: Kerzhakov goes close now for Russia, which has come back into the game. Dzagoev tries to burst into the penalty area but he's blocked off by the Greek defense. The ball bounces out to Kerzhakov, who hits the ball on the bounce and it slowly curls wide of the far post.
2055: GREECE VS. RUSSIA: Early attempt for Greece through Katsouranis. He runs to the near post to flick the ball on from a corner and the ball loops toward the Russia goal. Goalkeeper Malafeev gets a fist to it at the last moment, pushing it away. The Greeks have started the brighter _ remember, they have to win to go through.
2050: We are up and running. Both matches are make-or-break _ one team will go through and one will go out in each game. After two matches, Russia is top of the group on four points, the Czechs three, Poland two and Greece one.
2044: And here are the teams for Greece vs. Russia:
Greece: Michalis Sifakis, Vassilis Torosidis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Giorgos Tzavelas, Yiannis Maniatis, Giorgos Karagounis, Kostas Katsouranis, Dimitris Salpingidis, Georgios Samaras, Fanis Gekas.
Russia: Vyacheslav Malafeev, Alexander Anyukov, Alexei Berezutski, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov, Igor Denisov, Roman Shirokov, Denis Glushakov, Andrey Arshavin, Alexander Kerzhakov, Alan Dzagoev.
2040: Here are the lineups for the Czech Republic vs. Poland:
Czech Republic: Petr Cech, Theodor Gebre Selassie, Michal Kadlec, Tomas Sivok, David Limbersky, Jaroslav Plasil, Vaclav Pilar, Tomas Hubschman, Daniel Kolar, Petr Jiracek, Milan Baros.
Poland: Przemyslaw Tyton, Sebastian Boenisch, Marcin Wasilewski, Damien Perquis, Lukasz Piszczek, Dariusz Dudka, Eugen Polanski, Ludovic Obraniak, Rafal Murawski, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Robert Lewandowski.
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