Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski’s sensational second half strike ensured they earned a point against rivals Russia in Group A as the sides played out a 1-1 draw in Warsaw.
By talkSPORT | Tuesday, June 12, 2012
In their opening games the co-hosts drew 1-1 with Greece in a dramatic tie while Russia thrashed Czech Republic 4-1.
But another draw for the Poles means they must get a result in their final game against the Czechs to qualify for the quarter finals, while Russia will need at least another point to progress.
Trouble outside the stadium earlier in the day threatened to overshadow the match but the promise of tantalising tie saw any trouble die down.
Four minutes into the game Polish defender Sebatian Boenisch tested Vyacheslav Malafeev but the keeper was able to pull off a stop with his legs to deny his downward header.
Eugen Polanski then thought he’d given Poland the lead but after flashing the ball past Malafeev the linesman raised his flag ruling the midfielder offside.
It was Russia, though, who got the opening goal after 37 minutes when Andrey Arshavin swung in a free-kick from the left and Alan Dzagoev flicked the ball beyond Przemyslaw Tyton from seven-yards to score his third goal of the tournament.
And after 57 minutes Poland got themselves back on level terms, and it was some goal as Jakub Blaszczykowski, their captain, cut in from the right and hit a thunderous left-footed strike beyond Malafeev who could only snatch at thin air as it flew past him and into the back of the net.
Franciszek Smuda’s team then nearly put themselves in front ten minutes later but Malafeev did well to stop Polanski’s close range snapshot.
Russia appeared to settle for a draw and slowly played the ball around their defence before embarking on gentle attacking forays.
When those broke down their opponents attempted to counter attack, but Aleksei Berezutskiy and Sergei Inashevich were able to mop up with ease until the final whistle was blown.