Greece is without their two best central defenders, and in the first 10 minutes of their match against the Czech Republic, it was painfully obvious. Schalke youngster Kyriakos Papadopoulos has a bright future ahead of him, but he looked very much out of place in the Greek back line in the first half, and the Czech Republic hold a 2-0 halftime lead.
The first goal came just three minutes into the match. Papadopoulos attempted to step up and catch Petr Jiracek offside on a through ball, but Jiracek was on easily and placed the ball past Kostas Chalkias. Defensive midfielder Kostas Katsouranis moved back to the center of defense for this match and wasn't blameless for the goal at all. He was nowhere near Papadopoulos on the move and wasn't around to provide any cover. The assist was surprisingly applied by Tomas Hubschman -- who was brought into the team to solidify the team defensively -- with an impressive through ball.
Just five minutes later, the Czech Republic doubled their lead and became the fastest team to score two goals in a European Championship game, netting their second goal of the game in the 8th minute. Gabriele Selassie set up the goal with a great run by Jose Holebas on the right flank, as he got to the endline and cut the ball back towards the center of the penalty area. Vaclav Pilar was in the perfect spot and deflected the ball into the back of the net.
Though he wasn't completely at fault for either goal, Chalkias' positioning wasn't great on the goals either. He appeared to pull a hamstring midway through the half, and had to be replaced by Michalis Sifakis. So far, it's been a slight upgrade, with Sifakis looking comfortable in goal. He was forced into one tough save on a shot by Tomas Rosicky, which he made comfortably.
That shot happened just one minute after Rosicky narrowly avoided a sending off. He got caught putting a high boot into the head of Giorgos Karagounis while trying to win a 50-50 ball, and he was shown a yellow card. The Greeks didn't protest too much, but any time a player puts his studs into the head of another player, no matter how inadvertent the contact was, he's lucky if he avoids a red card.
Giorgios Fotakis appeared to haul one goal back in the 41st minute with a header, but he was flagged for offside. Replays showed that the linesman got the decision correct, but very narrowly.
Greece has a variety of problems, and they're going to have to do something in the second half. They've struggled with Tomas Rosicky, which isn't surprising. The moving of Katsouranis to defense has significantly weakened the Greece midfield. They need to solidify that area, but they're also going to be tempted to throw a striker into the game while they're trailing by two goals. There's no reason Greece should get back into this game, but the same thing was the case against Poland, and they managed to steal a draw.