Czech Republic 1-0 Poland
I guess this result doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. It is of course unfortunate, but the Polish side really lacked the intensity needed to win this game. They revealed days before that this would be their “biggest game in 30 years.” They definitely didn’t play like it. They did start off strong, but after a few misses up top they gave up really easy. Just like the game against Greece, the liveliness was non-existent in the second half. The Czechs, even without Rosicky, we’re all too happy to dominate possession as the Polish watched their chances slip away.
After much controversy Tyton started in the back for the Poles, he had a solid game as a blocked shot after shot from the Czechs but it just wasn’t enough in the 72nd minute when Jiracek slipped one right past him. For most of the game, and especially after the goal, the Poles had difficulty starting almost anything. They came out flat, didn’t connect any passes and lacked vigor for counter-attacks. Pilar utilized the lack of effort from the Poles and ran away with the game as he battled and ran through most of the midfield and defense of the opposing side.
Here are some stats to prove the lackadaisical showing of the Poles:
Passes made in the 1st half – 168
Passes made in the 2nd half – 68
Total – 236
In comparison to their 236 passes, the tournament average is 410 goals. The team was nowhere to be found in the end. Polish defender Wasilewski stated the following: “The situation from the Greece game repeated itself again…we just didn’t show up for the second half. What can I say, we screwed up and we all know it.” He also claimed to media outlets that the night was “terrible” and the “worst of his career.” Sad to hear this, especially when considering that the game was watched by over 14 million people from Poland.
Rosicky who? The Czechs we’re completely fine without their main man. The speed of play moved from the center to the wings with the support of Hubschman in the middle. Possession was key as the Czechs watched their opponents slowly fall apart during most of the game. Even with Poland sending a second attacking midfielder during the last half-hour, the Czechs were able to maintain ball control and dominated any movement towards their back line.
Man of the Match
Tomas Hubschman. I know everybody want’s me to pick Jiracek, or even Pilar who needed to work extra hard after Rosicky’s absence, but Hubschman controlled the game in the middle. With him delivering pass after pass, the Czech Republic was able to send men down the sides, creating dangerous opportunities during the game.