The Czech Republic turned in a truly awful showing in their first match of Euro 2012, but they've recovered and given themselves an excellent chance to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. They were outplayed by Greece in the second half on Tuesday, but did enough to hold on to their early lead in a 2-1 win.
It took just eight minutes for the Czech Republic to take a 2-0 lead in the match, making them the fastest team to ever score two goals in the European Championships. Petr Jiracek netted the first goal in the 3rd minute, finishing off a fantastic through ball by defensive midfielder Tomas Hubschman. They added their second goal five minutes after that, with Vaclav Pilar turning in a pass that Gabriele Selassie cut back from the endline.
The Czechs dodged a couple of bullets before the halftime whistle to go into the break with a two-goal lead and 11 men. Tomas Rosicky was only shown a yellow card for a high boot to the head of Giorgos Karagounis, while Giorgios Fotakis had a goal narrowly disallowed for offside.
Greece had to bring off keeper Kostas Chalkias due to an injury in the first half, and made their second sub of the game at halftime, bringing on striker Theofanis Gekas for Fotakis. The Czech Republic made a halftime switch of their own, likely for fitness reasons, bringing on Daniel Kolar for Rosicky.
It took just eight minutes of play for Greece's substitution to pay off with a goal, though the chance was created much more by a Czech Republic error than any kind of brilliant play executed by Gekas. On a cross into the box that didn't look particularly dangerous, Petr Cech and Tomas Sivok had a bit of a miscommunication and clattered into each other as Cech tried to claim the ball. That left an empty net for Gekas to shoot the ball into, bringing Greece back into the match.
The Greeks looked decent going forward from then until the end of the match and played with much more ambition than they did in any of their previous three halves in the tournament, but failed to generate clear-cut chances. The Czech defense and Petr Cech played very well from their bad 53rd minute error until the end of the game, keeping their team's lead intact. Gekas' shot would be Greece's only shot on target in the match.
Both teams now await the result of the match between Russia and Poland to see what they will need to do in their final group stage match to advance to the quarterfinals. Greece will need a win over Russia no matter what, but the Czechs might only need a draw against Poland depending on what happens.