Antonio Calanni/AP/Press Association Images

As it happened: Greece v Czech Republic, Euro 2012

We went minute-by-minute as Greece and the Czech Republic tried to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.

HERE WE GO again.

The second round of games get under way in Wroclaw and the Czech Republic are out to avoid being the first team to crash out of the tournament.

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Greece 1 – 2 Czech Republic

Good afternoon and welcome to what (surprisingly) looks like another thrilling night of football.

Czech Republic meet Greece knowing a defeat would ahve them packing their bags.

The Greeks showed true grit to control large tracts of their games against Poland, despite being down to 10 men against the hosts.

Here are the teams.

Greece: Chalkias, Torosidis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Katsouranis, Holebas, Fotakis, Maniatis, Karagounis, Salpingidis, Samaras, Fortounis.

Subs: Tzorvas, Tzavelas, Malezas, Makos, Liberopoulos, Mitroglou, Gekas, Ninis, Fetfatzidis, Sifakis.

Czech Republic: Cech, Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky, Hubschman, Plasil, Jiracek, Rosicky, Pilar, Baros.

Subs: Lastuvka, Suchy, Hubnik, Necid, Rezek, Petrzela, Rajtoral, Kolar, Pekhart, Lafata, Darida, Drobny.

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

The teams have emerged from the tunnel, cue flags, fanfare and anthems.

Then, hopefully, some football.

We haven’t had a goalless draw in the championships yet, but these sides have a history of drawing a stalemate. Most memorably (if that’s the right word) in the Euro 2004 semi-final before Traianos Dellas scored the winner in extra time.

But nothing as underwhelming could happen today. Could it?

That annoying countdown to kick-off has reached zero, so I guess that means we have a game on. The Czech’s, dressed all in red, are enjoying some early possession.

GOAL: Greece 0 – 1 Czech Republic (Jiracek 3′)

Czech Republic get off to the best possible start as a pin-point through ball carves the white defence open.

Jiracek races onto the ball and, one-on-one, dispatches the chance from the edge of the area.

GOAL Greece 0 – 2 Czech Republic (Katsouranis OG ’6)

No sooner than I had dotted the t’s and crossed the i’s of the opening strike, the Czech’s are two up.

Gebre Selassie got in behind the defence on the right wing and whipped in a low cross. Chalkias probably should have done better, but it crept through his hands where Pilar was sliding in. His touch was inadvertently dragged in by Katsouranis.

Greece have been completely overawed by that start. Not dissimilar to their shell-shocked opening quarter against Poland.

Unlike Poland, the Czechs have been ruthless in their efficiency.

All the talk pre-match was of the Czechs crashing out. Now they are in control of Group A and – barring another Greek comeback – Poland need a result against Russia.

Greek ‘Keeper Kostas Chalkias has held his hands up in an ‘all my fault’ pose after side-footing a back pass out of play.

Actually, it looks like meant it, he’s called for a substitute and his hobbling off with what looks like a groin injury.

Sifakis is now between the sticks. Is that the end of the man they call (unaffectionately) ‘Chalky the clown’?

Sifakis has just made his first save of the night, and a decent save it was. Low to his right after Roskicky’s 25 yard daisy-cutter took a minor deflection.

Karagounis comes close to playing in Salpingidis, but the striker is flagged offside. It’s the first time Greece have come close to finding an opening. They have been steamrolled in this opening 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, there’s been talk of trouble before Poland’s game with Russia. But who would mess with this man?

Oooh, I thought Greece were back in it. As Fotakis met an in-swinging cross with a firm header.

Cech couldn’t keep it out of the net, but as he wheeled off ready to celebrate, the flag was up. Very harsh.

Greece have shown a knack of coming back from the dead, but is that the chance gone?

Greece have enjoyed a nice little spell as we near the half time whistle. You have to credit them, they don’t give in.

HALF TIME: Greece 0 – 2 Czech Republic

And there is the whistle. Czech republic will be absolutely ecstatic with their start. It looks an unassailable lead and they should join Russia on top of the group with three points.

But Karagounis has just began to exert an influence on the game and we can’t help but think back to the opening round; when Greece looked better the longer the game went on, while the Czechs flagged in the latter stages against Russia.

A Greek goal, and they should have been awarded one, will put this game right back in the melting pot.

Interesting (if slightly pointless) stat from fourfourtwo: Greece, comprehensively outplayed, managed the same number of passes in their first half as England did yesterday. 155, since you ask.

As the second half kicks off, we have some interesting substitutes being made.

Tomas Rosicky is off, replaced by Daniel Kolář.

Fanis Gekas has taken the field for Greece, Fotakis gets the hook.

Another early burst from Gabre Selassie has Greece at sixes and sevens, but this time Milan Baros just can’t get it out of his feet to take the shot on.

The substitutions have made Greece open up. The look more assured too, now that Samara is not their centre forward. Instead he is operating a withdrawn role on the left side of the attack.

GOAL: Greece 1 – 2 Czech Republic (Gekas ’53)

Oh goodness. Petr Cech, what have you done?

One of the world’s most celebrated stoppers has dropped an enormous clanger to let Greece back in the game.

A fairly harmless looking ball from the left by Samaras caused all kinds of confusion for Sivok and Cech. As the ‘keeper leaned in to collect it slipped right through his gloves to Gekas, the half time substitute, who gratefully accepted the gift and turned the ball into an empty net from 14 yards.

Prior to the Greek goal, RTE commentator, Stephen Alkin called the Czech’s lead a dangerous one, but his co-pilot Brian Kerr was having none of it.

“Well, I’d rather have a two goal lead than a one goal lead, Stephen.”

Perhaps the Chelsea ‘keeper disagreed.

With half an hour remaining, Greece are definitely the side with momentum. They are testing Cech’s confidence, too. Piling free-kicks in on top of him.

So far he has coped well and is punching them clear without much fuss… but his gaffe will never be forgotten.

Milan Baros has been called ashore. Former Spurs sensation Thomas Pekhart is on and the reds instantly look a better side.

Strike that, the Czech Republic are no hanging on to their slender lead.

Greece, with Rosicky gone from the field, are dominant in midfield and continue to probe on both wings for a free-kick or an opening. They are intent on fizzing crosses into the six-yard-box.

20 minutes to go, there is another big goal in this game.

Pilar has been the bright spark for Czech Republic all night, he forced the second goal and now the only man who looks capable of opening the game up on the break.

With less than 10 minutes remaining, the game is in a very definite rhythm. Fernando Santos’ side are in control of territory, but seem to believe that only a set-piece can provide an equaliser.

Sivok and Kadlec are doing a very decent job of keeping the defence tight.

Here’s a (poor quality) clip of that mistake from Cech. Get it before UEFA find out it exists.

YouTube credit: DinosaurusTV

Two minutes remain, but it now feels like Cech and the Czechs have finally settled and look able to run the clock down from here. Greece have spent the best part of 180 minutes chasing games at Euro 2012 maybe that is beginning to show in their ageing legs.

We’re in injury time and Gekas has the ball at the edge of the area, no luck for him this time around. The pass left to Samaras is badly over-hit.

FULL TIME: Greece 1 – 2 Czech Republic

There you have it. Greece continued to bomb balls in the general vicinity of the box. But Czech Republic had enough big burly men to bat it away.

The did endure a minor hear stoppage when the referee whistled for a foul, but he pointed out, not at the penalty spot.

Czech-mate, as my colleague Hugh O’Connell has said more than once in the past hour.

Having been labelled the worst team in the tournament in the wake of their 4-1 trouncing by Russia. Czech Republic are sitting proudly alongside the world’s largest country on top of group A.

Whatever happens in tonight’s fractious encounter in Warsaw (brought to you live by Paul Fennessy) a quarter final place will be on the line when Poland host the Czechs on Sunday.

Group A preview: Czechs refusing to be counted out before Greek battle

Poll: What was your favourite game of the Euros so far?

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