16th of June 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
Greece have never won an European Championship match since winning the trophy back in 2004 with a surprising victory over Portugal in Lisbon. They finally did that on Saturday and it did matter because the 1-0 success against Russia puts the Greeks through to the quarter finals.
Russia had started the night Group A leaders but Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis scored on the stroke of half time to put Greece ahead. However, Russia were still qualified at that point since Poland vs Czech Republic was goalless at the break.
Greece had the first decent chance on a corner kick but Katsouranis'shot was easily blocked by the goalkeeper. Then Russia started dominating possession and Andrey Arshavin provided the first threat but his deflection on a Dzagoev cross lacked power. Then it was Aleksandr Kerzakhov who tried his luck with a nice volley from the edge of the box but the ball went wide. Zhirkov fired another one off target and Russia got punished for their poor finishing just before the break when Sergei Ignashevich made a big mistake in defence giving Karagounis the opportunity to open the scoring.
Coach Dick Advocaat sent in Roman Pavlyuchenko for Kerzhakov after the interval but the Greek defence was holding firm. Moreover, Greece could have doubled their lead shortly before the hour as Vassilis Torossidis put a ball across goal Fanis Gekas was anticipated by Anyukov. Greece had another good chance when Giorgos Tzavellas smashed a free-kick against the angle of post and crossbar. Russia could only create one big chance until the end of the game with Dzagoev nodding Arshavin's cross past the goalkeeper but just wide of the far post. And since the Czechs defeated Poland in the other match, Russia's tournament came to a sad end after a brilliant opening in that 4-1 win against Czech Republic.
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