18 Jun 2012

Greece and Czech Republic make Euro2012 quarter-finals

1:06 pm on 18 June 2012

Greece and the Czech Republic, written off after poor starts to Euro 2012, completed astonishing turnarounds with 1-0 wins over Russia and co-hosts Poland to reach the quarter-finals against all the odds.

Greek captain Giorgos Karagounis scored in first-half stoppage time for the 2004 champions who had taken only one point from their first two games and were given almost no chance of beating the confident and impressive Russians.

Petr Jiracek turned party-pooper when his 72nd-minute goal silenced hundreds of thousands of Polish fans gathered in fanzones in Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw and Poznan, many of whom went home soaked after torrential downpours in the latter two venues.

The Czechs finished top with six points, becoming the first team to win a group at the tournament with a negative goal difference, followed by Greece and Russia on four and Poland on two.

Greece went through with the better head-to-head record against Russia, a system which is increasingly unpopular because of its complexity and throws up dozens of possible connotations especially when three teams finish level on points.