Russia entered their final group stage match needing just a draw to secure qualification. That seemed like a given to most considering how well the first-place team had looked offensively at Euro 2012.
No one told Greece that.
Greece eliminated Russia from the tournament in stunning fashion, pulling out a 1-0 victory courtesy of a first-half stoppage time goal from Giorgos Karagounis on Saturday. The Greek captain took advantage of a poor header, raced in on goal and fired home the winner seconds before the final whistle of the first half.
The Russians tried desperately to find an equalizer, but they never found it. Russia and Greece finished Group A on four points each but the latter advanced to the quarterfinals due to the head-to-head tiebreaker and despite having a worse goal differential.
Greece will take on the winner of Group B on June 22 in the quarterfinals.
In Group A's other game on Monday:
JIRACEK GOAL SEES CZECH REPUBLIC FINISH ATOP GROUP A
Petr Jiracek broke the hearts of tournament co-hosts Poland, scoring the winner in Czech Republic's 1-0 victory on Saturday. The result combined with Russia's surprise loss to Greece gave Czech Republic first place of Group A.
Having tied their opening two matches of the tournament, Poland realistically needed a victory to advance in the competition. But Jiracek crushed the hopes of the dozens of thousands of Polish fans in attendance at Municipal Stadium when he broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute on a Czech Republic counter attack.
Czech Republic finished the group with six points while Poland ended up with two. The Czechs will meet the runner-up in Group B in the quarterfinals on June 21.
What do you think of the results? How surprised are you by Russia's elimination? Think Czech Republic can go far in this tournament?
Share your thoughts below.