We're halfway through this elimination match between Poland and the Czech Republic on a rainy evening at the Stadion Miejski in Wrocław, Poland. Despite some great chances for the host side, it's scoreless at halftime, a result the Czech's are likely content with as it would see them through to the quarterfinals if it holds.
Lots of attacking energy early in the match as both sides got great early chances. Poland's Dariusz Dudka hit the side netting with an acrobatic bicycle kick attempt. A few minutes later Jaroslav Plasil missed a golden opportunity to put the Czech Republic in front after a fantastic bit of individual effort from Gebre Selassie to create the chance.
As expected, Poland's need for the full three points to avoid elimination meant they were forced to get more bodies forward, leaving space for the Czech's to play in. The plan worked fine for Poland early as they were able to generate chances, but the finishing just wasn't there. Both Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski had opportunities to give Poland the lead early as they peppered the general area of Petr Cech's goal with shots...even if they weren't technically shots on goal.
As the half wore on, Michal Bílek's side was content to hold possession as much as possible and limit Poland's time on the ball. It didn't work well early, but as the half went on, fatigue started to affect Poland and the Czech's were able to hold on to the ball for longer and longer spells. Late in the half, all the possession did lead to the Czech's finally generating a couple good chances on goal.
The half also lacked much in the way of creative play in the midfield. Poland's early energy slowly gave way to the Czech's sitting on the ball and passing it around. Fortunately, the spectre of either side being one goal away from advancing or going home helped to ratchet up the tension and still allowed for an entertaining 45 minutes of play.
It also looked like we might suffer another weather delay when lightning was spotted in the area at around the 30 minute mark. Fortunately, mother nature settled down and allowed the half to finish.