Czech Republic's Euro 2012 campaign came alive thanks to two goals in the first six minutes against 2004 champions Greece.
Petr Jiracek scored the opener when he converted Tomas Hubschman's defence-splitting pass in the third minute.
Vaclav Pilar then grabbed his second goal of the tournament when he bundled home from two yards out.
- The combined total of 16 shots is the fewest in a European Championship match since 1980
- Of those 16 shots, four were on target, with three resulting in goals
- Greece managed one shot in the first half, which was blocked, though Giorgos Fotakis did have the ball in the net only to be ruled offside
- After scoring twice in the opening six minutes, the Czechs managed only seven more attempts on goal, with one on target
Greece had a goal ruled out for offside before Fanis Gekas capitalised on a Petr Cech howler after the break.
It was the fifth goal Chelsea's usually reliable number one had conceded in this tournament, but fortunately for the 30-year-old he avoided further errors as his side held on for a vital victory.
Apart from their defensive naivety during the 4-1 defeat by Russia , Czech Republic's other failing was waiting until late in the game to demonstrate their potency in attack.
There was no such caution against the Greeks, as they catapulted themselves into a 2-0 lead inside six minutes.
Both were scored by Wolfsburg players. The first from the boot of wideman Jiracek, who ran in from the right, burst past the Greek defence, and slotted in Hubschman's beautifully-weighted pass.
The Greeks, who had to reorganise their defence coming into the match because of injury and suspension, were punished again three minutes later.
Arsenal's Tomas Rosicky fed in Theodor Gebre Selassie on the right side of the area. The full-back, who was a constant threat on the wing, pulled his cross back for Pilar, who beat two defenders to the ball and directed his shot in with his thigh.
There were further woes inflicted on Greece when veteran keeper Kostas Chalkias came off with an injury to be replaced by Michalis Sifakis in the 23rd minute.
The PAOK Salonika man had barely got into position before he was called to push away Rosicky's 25-yard drive.
Group A permutations
- Russia need at least a point from their final game against Greece to qualify as of right
- Russia will still qualify if they lose if the Czech Republic draw with Poland
- If Russia lose and either Poland or Czech Republic win then Russia are out
- Czech Rep need to defeat Poland to qualify by right
- Czechs can also qualify if they draw against Poland and Russia win or draw
- Poland need to defeat Czech Rep to qualify
- Greece will qualify if they defeat Russia
The Greeks' only threat of the half resulted in the ball hitting the back of the net, but Giorgos Fotakis's header was controversially ruled offside. The replay seemed to suggest he was level.
Fotakis was replaced by Gekas after the break and, like in the first match against Poland when Dimitris Salpangidis, who started today, came on in the second half and made a difference, the change gave Greece an early boost.
On this occasion, Cech played a big part in goal when confusion between himself and his defender Tomas Sivok caused him to fumble a tame cross. Gekas had the easy task of passing into an empty net.
Greece brought on Olympiakos's Kostas Mitroglou to bring the number of forwards in their XI to four with 20 minutes remaining, but they seemed devoid of ideas against a flaky Czech defence.
The defeat leaves the Greeks needing victory against Russia to stand a chance of progressing, while the revitalised Czechs will face co-hosts and neighbours Poland for a possible do-or-die Group A finale.
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The match has reached full-time.90:00 +2:05
Kostas Mitroglou concedes a free kick for a foul on Theodor Gebre Selassie. Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.90:00 +0:23
Vassilis Torosidis fouled by Vaclav Pilar, the ref awards a free kick. Kyriakos Papadopoulos takes the indirect free kick.89:13 Substitution
Substitution Frantisek Rajtoral is brought on as a substitute for Daniel Kolar.87:46
Foul by Vaclav Pilar on Theofanis Gekas, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Vassilis Torosidis.87:15
Jaroslav Plasil decides to take a short corner.86:25
Tomas Pekhart gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Giorgos Karagounis. Kostas Mitroglou restarts play with the free kick.84:44
Kostas Mitroglou challenges Petr Jiracek unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Tomas Sivok.82:34
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Giorgos Karagounis by Petr Jiracek. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Giorgos Karagounis from left wing.81:25
Foul by Theofanis Gekas on Theodor Gebre Selassie, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Vaclav Pilar.76:35
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kostas Mitroglou on Michal Kadlec. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.76:01
Effort from just outside the box by Vaclav Pilar goes over the bar.75:21
David Limbersky fouled by Giannis Maniatis, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Jaroslav Plasil, clearance made by Tomas Sivok.75:00
Georgios Samaras crosses the ball, save by Petr Cech.73:33
Free kick awarded for a foul by Theodor Gebre Selassie on Georgios Samaras. Free kick taken by Theofanis Gekas. Kostas Mitroglou concedes a free kick for a foul on Tomas Sivok. Petr Cech takes the free kick.71:37
Giorgos Karagounis takes a shot. Blocked by Tomas Sivok. The referee blows for offside against Theofanis Gekas. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.70:14 Substitution
Substitution Kostas Mitroglou replaces Kostas Fortounis.68:31
Short corner worked by Giorgos Karagounis.67:05
Giannis Maniatis has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.66:30
Tomas Pekhart concedes a free kick for a foul on Giorgos Karagounis. Direct free kick taken by Giorgos Karagounis.
Giorgos Karagounis takes the free kick.64:59 Booking
Booking Daniel Kolar receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.64:56
Daniel Kolar gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kostas Fortounis.64:24
Shot from a long way out by Daniel Kolar goes wide of the left-hand post.63:52 Substitution
Substitution Tomas Pekhart on for Milan Baros.60:29
Kyriakos Papadopoulos takes a shot. Blocked by Tomas Sivok.59:36
Milan Baros gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kyriakos Papadopoulos. Indirect free kick taken by Kyriakos Papadopoulos. Vaclav Pilar concedes a free kick for a foul on Vassilis Torosidis. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Giorgos Karagounis, Petr Cech makes a save.57:57
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tomas Hubschman by Georgios Samaras. Indirect free kick taken by Petr Cech.56:41
Jaroslav Plasil restarts play with the free kick.56:41 Booking
Booking Booking for Dimitris Salpingidis for unsporting behaviour.56:36
Unfair challenge on David Limbersky by Dimitris Salpingidis results in a free kick.56:01
Free kick awarded for a foul by Georgios Samaras on Theodor Gebre Selassie. Direct free kick taken by Jaroslav Plasil.55:18
Direct free kick taken by Petr Jiracek.55:18 Booking
Booking Kyriakos Papadopoulos goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.55:14
Kyriakos Papadopoulos concedes a free kick for a foul on Milan Baros.53:37
Jaroslav Plasil concedes a free kick for a foul on Giannis Maniatis. Giorgos Karagounis takes the free kick.52:23
The assist for the goal came from Georgios Samaras.52:23 Goal scored
Goal! - Theofanis Gekas - Greece 1 - 2 Czech Rep Theofanis Gekas finds the net with a goal from inside the box low into the middle of the goal. Greece 1-2 Czech Republic.50:25
Free kick awarded for a foul by Giannis Maniatis on Daniel Kolar. Petr Cech takes the free kick.50:00
Unfair challenge on Georgios Samaras by Tomas Hubschman results in a free kick. Giorgos Karagounis takes the direct free kick.46:56
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jose Holebas on Petr Jiracek. Petr Jiracek restarts play with the free kick.45:51
Theodor Gebre Selassie takes a shot. Kyriakos Papadopoulos gets a block in. Milan Baros gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Vassilis Torosidis. Michail Sifakis takes the indirect free kick.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Daniel Kolar on for Tomas Rosicky.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Theofanis Gekas replaces Giorgos Fotakis.45:00 +1:10 Half time
Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.44:02
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jaroslav Plasil on Giannis Maniatis. Kyriakos Papadopoulos restarts play with the free kick.43:08
Dimitris Salpingidis takes a shot. Blocked by Michal Kadlec.41:54
Effort on goal by Petr Jiracek from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.40:11
The referee blows for offside against Giorgos Fotakis. Petr Cech takes the free kick.37:22
Kostas Katsouranis fouled by Milan Baros, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Kostas Katsouranis.36:23
The referee blows for offside. Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.35:11
Giannis Maniatis restarts play with the free kick.35:11 Booking
Booking Petr Jiracek is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.35:08
Petr Jiracek concedes a free kick for a foul on Giannis Maniatis.33:31
Tomas Rosicky restarts play with the free kick.33:31 Booking
Booking Vassilis Torosidis receives a yellow card.33:23
Free kick awarded for a foul by Vassilis Torosidis on Vaclav Pilar.31:32
Corner taken by Tomas Rosicky from the left by-line, clearance made by Georgios Samaras.31:06
Dimitris Salpingidis is caught offside. Petr Cech takes the free kick.29:01
Tomas Rosicky produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.28:29
Corner taken left-footed by Tomas Rosicky, Georgios Samaras manages to make a clearance.28:09
Tomas Rosicky takes a shot. Save by Michail Sifakis.27:10
Foul by Kyriakos Papadopoulos on Theodor Gebre Selassie, free kick awarded. Theodor Gebre Selassie restarts play with the free kick.26:04
Free kick crossed right-footed by Jose Holebas, save by Petr Cech.26:04 Booking
Booking Tomas Rosicky receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.25:48
Giorgos Karagounis fouled by Tomas Rosicky, the ref awards a free kick.23:04
Giorgos Fotakis fouled by Vaclav Pilar, the ref awards a free kick. Giorgos Karagounis crosses the ball in from the free kick, Tomas Sivok makes a clearance.22:04 Substitution
Substitution Michail Sifakis replaces Kostas Chalkias.18:57
Shot from just outside the penalty box by Vaclav Pilar misses to the left of the target.16:57
Jaroslav Plasil is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by Jose Holebas.15:05
Inswinging corner taken by Tomas Rosicky, save made by Kostas Chalkias.13:57
The referee blows for offside against Dimitris Salpingidis. Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.12:44
Tomas Hubschman challenges Giorgos Karagounis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Giorgos Karagounis from right channel.11:27
The official flags Georgios Samaras offside. Petr Cech takes the free kick.10:02
Unfair challenge on Giorgos Karagounis by Milan Baros results in a free kick. Giorgos Karagounis crosses the ball in from the free kick, Petr Cech makes a save.7:28
Dimitris Salpingidis produces a cross, save made by Petr Cech.6:57
Kostas Fortounis fouled by Theodor Gebre Selassie, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Giorgos Karagounis.5:19
Assist by Theodor Gebre Selassie.5:19 Goal scored
Goal! - Vaclav Pilar - Greece 0 - 2 Czech Rep Vaclav Pilar scores a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Greece 0-2 Czech Republic.3:23
Petr Jiracek gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Giannis Maniatis. Free kick taken by Giannis Maniatis.2:15
The assist for the goal came from Tomas Hubschman.2:15 Goal scored
Goal! - Petr Jiracek - Greece 0 - 1 Czech Rep Petr Jiracek finds the net with a goal from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Greece 0-1 Czech Republic.1:50
Theodor Gebre Selassie gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Giorgos Karagounis. Jose Holebas takes the direct free kick.0:17
Foul by Georgios Samaras on Tomas Hubschman, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Petr Cech.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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