European Championship

June 8, 2012

Full-time

Russia

4 - 1

Czech Republic

Group A

18:45 +00:00, June 8, 2012

Wroclaw Municipal Stadium, Poland

  • 93'

    So, all in all, an excellent opening day of Euro 2012. Two fine games choc-full of incidents and , most importantly, goals. And this is supposedly the least attractive group. Bring on the rest I say, starting with Netherlands v Denmark and Germany v Portugal tomorrow. Yum yum.

  • 93'

    Arshavin and Dzagoev were particularly good and Russia should breeze through the group. The Czechs will have to lick their wounds but they showed enough to suggest they can edge past both Poland and Greece with a slice of good fortune.

  • 93'

    FULL TIME An excellent display from the Russians, who only had a slight wobble when the Czechs pulled it back to 2-1. They looked a very impressive unit tonight, with the notable exception of Kerzhakov. Once he was substituted, they racked up the lead they deserved with some lovely goals.

  • 92'

    Shame for the Czechs as Pilar's superb pass is finished beautifully by Petrezela, but the linesman's flag is up.

  • 91'

    Two minutes added.

  • 90'

    Russia winding the time down now. Keep ball o'clock.

  • 89'

    Petrzela crosses to no-one in particular. The Czechs have been outclassed tonight but they are still well capable of beating Poland and Greece.

  • 88'

    Poland are next up for Russia. A win there and they will be almost home and hosed.

  • 87'

    Arshavin nearly makes it five as he cuts in and shoots on goal but his daisy-cutter of an effort is right at a grateful Cech.

  • 86'

    Plasil tries to curl a free kick towards the top corner but that isn't trouble Malafeev.

  • 85'

    Baros departs and Lafata replaces him.

  • 84'

    The star of the show, Dzagoev, goes off and Kokorin replaces him.

  • 83'

    Finally, the scoreline reflects Russia's superiority. Funny how the goals started flowing once Kerzhakov went off eh?

  • 82'

    Pavlyuchenko tried for an age to working a shooting opportunity and once he did, he thumped it past Cech from the edge of the box. Keeper should have done better perhaps.

  • 82'

    GOAL Superb strike from Pavlyuchenko!

  • 81'

    Excellent slow-mo replay of Dzagoev's goal. A fine strike from a very promising player.

  • 80'

    Dangerous ball into the box from Rosicky but the flag was up as Pilar had strayed offside.

  • 79'

    That's how to finish Alexander Kerzhakov! Pavlyuchenko finds Dzagoev with a clever pass and he hammers the ball past Cech from 18 yards out. That should be that.

  • 79'

    GOAL Dzagoev seals it!

  • 78'

    Zhirov bursts into the box from Arshavin's pass but Hubnik blocks his shot.

  • 77'

    Russia's fans have been quiet for a while now - they can smell a mugging. The Czechs still clinging on at the back though.

  • 76'

    Damning statistic alert Kerzhakov is the first ever player to have seven shots off target in a single game at the Euros.

  • 75'

    Jiracek trots off for the Czechs and Petrzela comes on.

  • 74'

    A good low effort from Rosicky - Malafeev is down smartly to save, then pluck the ball from the air as Baros waited to pounce.

  • 73'

    The end is nigh for Kerzhakov - Pavlyuchenko replaces the most wasteful man at Euro 2012. So far. A polite smattering of applause as he trudges off.

  • 72'

    Gebre Selassie goes for a Van Basten style volley. An effort from a deep cross from the right edge of the box that crashes into the side-netting. Terrific connection.

  • 71'

    I don't quite understand why Kerzhakov is still on the pitch. Get him off. He should have had four by now.

  • 70'

    Some tired legs on display now as a certain Russian player misses another excellent chance. Can you guess who? He cuts inside on his left and tries a curler, but the ball isn't going to work it's way back on target from a starting position of six yards wide of the far post.

  • 69'

    Now Hubnik embraces the open nature of this game by taking on Russia's defence all by himself. He wins a throw in level with the box edge.

  • 68'

    Another one for Kerzhakov's blooper reel as he edges to the right of Hubnik and slices his shot horribly wide.

  • 67'

    A wonderfully open game this - expect more goals.

  • 66'

    Russia flexing their muscles again as Zhirkov gets to the byline and stands up a lovely cross but Sivok is the one who gets there first.

  • 65'

    It just isn't Kerzhakov's night as he runs onto Arshavin's ball and fires wide of the target from eight yards. It was at an angle, but he's dragged that two yards wide of the far post. He is one wasteful striker.

  • 64'

    Superb ball from Shirokov for Zhirkov but Jiracek races back to make an important block and win a free kick.

  • 63'

    Zyryanov takes on the shot from 25 yards and though the direction is perfect, the height is not, and Cech can watch it sail over the bar.

  • 62'

    Kerzhakov breaks the offside trap but Sivok tracks the striker well and ensures the Czechs get a goal kick.

  • 61'

    Where's Jan Koller when you need him?

  • 59'

    Weak hold up play from Baros. Have they no-one better than him?

  • 58'

    Baros chases a lost cause and Russia almost play themselves into trouble at the back.

  • 57'

    Too delicate from Russians when they had numbers in attack. Kerzhakov found Shirokov when he could have taken on the shot.

  • 56'

    Cool work from Cech as he takes a back pass onto his right foot to clear.

  • 55'

    The Czechs are definitely hurling people forward but they are leaving themselves vulnerable at the back. No need to go chasing the game wildly just yet.

  • 54'

    Two decent crosses into the box from the corner, then from Rosicky but Russia stand firm and very nearly emerge on the break but for a better touch from Arshavin.

  • 53'

    Well, where did that come from? Defensive frailty from the Russians who completely lost Pilar. That goal will give the Czechs plenty of confidence.

  • 52'

    What a fine goal. Pilar shows composure to round Malafeev and slide home after an excellent run past Anyukov, who was keen to try and play him offside.

  • 52'

    GOAL Pilar pulls one back! Game on!

  • 50'

    Now another chance for Kerzhakov as the Czechs again leave themselves wide open. But his shot from just inside the area screws wide of the outside of his boot.

  • 49'

    But the danger resurfaces as Russia counter and Arshavin slides a very cute ball in for Kerzhakov but he stumbles when it was time to shoot.

  • 48'

    Another bright start to the half from the Czechs but it didn't get them very far in the opening 45 minutes.

  • 47'

    Plasil has been pushed further forward for the Czechs now.

  • 46'

    Holding midfielder Hubschmann replaces Rezek as we get under way again in Wroclaw.

  •  

    Roman Shirokov scores Russia's second goal

  •  

    On the evidence of this, Russia could be a decent shout for dark horse of the tournament. A very impressive opening 45 minutes. Where was this form when Arshavin was at Arsenal in the first half of the season?

  • 45'

    HALF TIME Russia in complete command, once they'd shaken off their opening night nerves. Two excellent goals from two speedy attacking moves and unless something monumental happens at the break, they will be taking a firm grip on Group A.

  • 45'

    Pilar meets Plasil's deep cross but Malafeev stands tall to take it on the bounce. Then Kerzhakov gets into the box and crosses, forcing Hubnik into a risky back pass from eight yards out. Cech hoofs clear.

  • 44'

    The Czechs have been most dangerous down the left but this time Gebre Selassie gets forward and wins a corner, though it should have been a goal kick.

  • 43'

    Decent work from Baros to hold up the ball and bring Jiracek into play but despite a 30-yard run he can't find a ball on the end of it.

  • 42'

    Russia's fans continue to make plenty of noise inside the stadium. This game is as good as won as far as they care concerned. Time to crack out the 'pogo' again.

  • 40'

    Rosicky's run is curtailed by the confident figure of Anyukov.

  • 39'

    Nice run from Pilar but a terrible return ball to him from Jiracek. It just hasn't happened in the final third for the team in white.

  • 38'

    A goal for the Czechs before half time is a must to give them some belief for the second half. Either that or they must hope Russia take their foot off the gas like Poland did in the opener.

  • 36'

    Ever since the first goal went in Russia have looked extremely good. Comfortable on the ball, and full of speed and creativity.

  • 35'

    Pilar overruns the ball as he tries to take on Anyukov.

  • 34'

    Another nice link up between Arshavin and Kerzhakov. They are both looking very dangerous.

  • 33'

    Another big chance for Russia as Kerzhakov fires over from 12 yards out after Zyryanov's cross fell to him. Russia should have this game wrapped up already.

  • 32'

    This Arshavin character has played quite well. Looks like the sort of chap who might fit in well at Arsenal.

  • 31'

    Plasil's free kick is cleared well but as the Czechs rebuild Jiracek does well to get to the byline but his cross doesn't clear the man at the near post.

  • 30'

    Webb does give that foul as Zhirkov trips Gebre Selassie.

  • 29'

    Arshavin fires a low ball right across the face of goal but Kerzhakov was on his heels.

  • 28'

    It was Plasil who barged Arshavin and the replay shows it was about as clear a penalty as you will ever see. Howard Webb is used to giving them to teams who play in red too.

  • 27'

    Big penalty shout for Russia as Kadlec (I think) barged Arshavin (I think). Looked a clear penalty but Webb said no.

  • 26'

    A sniff of a chance for Kadlec as he is fed by Rosicky but his prod is saved by Malafeev and was heading wide anyway.

  • 25'

    That'll be Russia taking a grip on Group A then I think. Still, one for the Czechs and they could get wobbly.

  • 24'

    A fabulous finish as Arshavin's pass eludes Kerzhakov but falls for Shirokov at the back stick who dinks the ball delicately over Cech and into the net. Class.

  • 24'

    GOAL It's 2-0! Shirokov with a beaut!

  • 24'

    I should mention that Soccernet's very own Dom Raynor has correctly predicted both first goalscorers in today's matches. Tekkers.

  • 23'

    Rezek meets the corner with a glancing header but sadly for him and the Czech Republic, it is right at Malafeev.

  • 22'

    A good clearing header from Zhrikov as Plasil did well to cross to the back post for Rezek.

  • 20'

    Baros has still got a reasonable turn of pace on him as he tries to get to the byline but he is off balance when he attempts to cross and Russia can tidy up at leisure.

  • 19'

    Russia have only had two attacks of note but both have been incisive and devastating. The Czechs will have to score a few to get anything out of this game you feel.

  • 18'

    What a chance for Dzagoev! A brilliant attacking move as Arshavin finds Kerzhakov and he passes wide to Dzagoev with only Cech to beat but he tries to slam it home like his first and slices wide of the target.

  • 17'

    That was Russia's first real attack of any menace and what a lovely goal it turned out to be. A pinpoint cross, a good header and a thumping finish from Dzagoev.

  • 16'

    A stoppage in play now as a flare finds its way onto the pitch, Howard Webb in attendance. He needs some oven gloves I think.

  • 15'

    An emphatic finish from Dzagoev after Zyryanov's cross found Kerzhakov and his header cannoned back off the post.

  • 15'

    GOAL Dzagoev strikes!

  • 14'

    The corner loops up in the air and Rezek bumps into Berezutsky. As Russia build down the left Zhirkov is slipped in down the byline by Arshavin but Kerzhakov drags his shot wide.

  • 13'

    Finally some purchase for Russia as Arshavin wins a corner off Gebre Selassie.

  • 12'

    A brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium again, as the Russian fans launch a collective pogo.

  • 11'

    Kadlec gets down the left channel and crosses to the back post where Rezek can only turn the ball back into the box and, crucially, behind Baros.

  • 10'

    Nothing happening for Russia in an attacking sense yet. Kerzhakov looking isolated and starved of any reasonable service.

  • 9'

    Lovely play from Jiracek as he beats two men and gets to the line but his cross is nodded clear by the imposing figure of Ignashevich - the sort of chap you wouldn't dare argue with in the queue for a nightclub.

  • 8'

    Anyukov is alert as Plasil tries to slot Kadlec in down the left.

  • 7'

    Zhirkov launches a long ball for Arshavin but he can't catch it before it runs out of play.

  • 6'

    Confident start for the Cezchs - Russia have hardly had a kick yet. Plasil again involved but Baros strayed offside.

  • 5'

    Plasil feigns to shoot but crosses instead and Hubnik meets it but was stretching and can't guide his header on target.

  • 4'

    Rezek is clipped by Berezutsky and the Czechs have a free kick 25 yards out.

  • 3'

    Danger from the Czech Republic's first corner. Malafeev happy to watch it go behind after the ball appeared to brush Berezutsky's arm.

  • 2'

    Plasil tries to float a ball over the top for Baros but Malafeev is out to claim.

  • 1'

    KICK OFF

  •  

    As mentioned previously, Russia haven't been beaten since February 2011. Can the Czechs stop them in their tracks tonight?

  •  

    A hearty rendition of the Russian anthem inside the stadium as coach Dick Advocaat looks on. Not all that far for them to go considering some of the previous host countries. Some horribly wonky signing voices on the players.

  •  

    As for Russia, Kerzhakov is preferred up front rather than Pogrebnyak or Pavlyuchenko. Their key man is likely to be Alan Dzagoev - the 21-year-old who is being touted as one of the finest players Russia has produced for a long time. Arshavin is still a leading light too.

  •  

    Great news for the Czechs as Tomas Rosicky is passed fit - he is the heartbeat of the team. Cech is obviously a world class goalkeeper, but goals may be a problem, with Milan Baros leading the line. He's still only 30 you know.

  •  

    And Russia: Malafeev, Aniukov, Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Shirokov, Denisov, Zyryanov, Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, Arshavin.

  •  

    Here is the Czech lineup, with some familiar names involved: Cech, Gebre Selassie, Hubnik, Sivok, Kadlec, Plasil, Jiracek, Pilar, Rosicky, Rezek, Baros.

  •  

    There's no let up in the action on the opening day of Euro 2012 as Russia, the 2008 semi-finalists, take on the Czech Republic in Wroclaw.

  •  


    Russia reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008, while Czech Republic made the same stage in 2004.

  •  

    Milan Baros is expected to start for Czech Republic after recovering from a thigh injury, while Russia coach Dick Advocaat (rather optimistically, we feel) believes his side can win the tournament.

  •  

    Russia have not lost a game since February 2011, but can Dick Advocaat's side extend that record in their Euro 2012 opener against Czech Republic? Join us from 1945 BST to find out.