Poland have kept themselves alive in Euro 2012, but they need to win their final game to progress to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Russia will be disappointed with their performance on Tuesday night, but they've done enough that a draw against Greece will be good enough to see them through.
The hosts were on top of Russia for good chunks of their match and certainly created the better scoring chances, but it took them until the 57th minute to score their first and only goal in a 1-1 draw. Vyacheslav Malafeev was excellent in goal for Russia, making eight saves, but he had absolutely no shot at saving Jakub Blaszczykowski's equalizer.
Alan Dzagoev netted the opener in the 37th minute with Russia's first shot on target of the match. The Russians struggled to create anything in the first half-hour of the match and looked nothing like the team that ran over the Czech Republic, but it would be unfair to say that they didn't deserve their goal. It came on a brilliant free kick by Andrei Arshavin, which he curled into the box right onto the head of Dzagoev. The delivery was so good that Dzagoev only needed to apply a slight touch to direct the ball past Przemyslaw Tyton with pace, putting Russia up 1-0.
Poland almost equalized instantly after the halftime whistle, with Eugen Polanski sending Robert Lewandowski towards goal with a brilliant through ball. Lewandowski got around Malafeev, but Russia's defense did well to cut off all of his available shooting and passing lanes, and the best that he could do was create a corner kick that ultimately led to nothing.
Kuba would finally score Poland's much deserved equalizer in the 57th minute. Ludovic Obraniak started the move with a great pass down the right flank for Blaszczykowski, who took the ball inside. Yuri Zhirkov showed Blaszczykowski onto his left foot and was made to pay when Kuba bent an incredible shot around the outstretched arm of Malafeev at the far post, eliciting a roar from the crowd at the National Stadium.
Perhaps the most decisive move made by either manager was the decision of Poland's Franciszek Smuda to introduce Dariusz Dudka. Poland were not terrific in the center of midfield in their opener, while Russia were excellent. The midfield battle was a bit of a stalemate in this one, and Russia failed to create chances. Dudka had five interceptions, the most of any Poland midfielder, before he was taken off in an attacking substitution.
Poland won't necessarily be thrilled by the result against Russia considering how many chances they were able to generate, but they'll be happy with their play and the knowledge that they control their own destiny in their final match of the group stage.