Euro 2012 continues to throw up one surprise after another, and last night was no different. The Czechs needed a draw to ensure their qualification to the next round when they faced co hosts Poland at Wroclaw. With the absence of their star playmaker Tomas Rosicky, the task to hold on to a determined Polish side looked monumental, especially given the fashion in which the Poles started the game. But soon, Michal Bilek’s men started to take control of the game as they saw more of the ball and passed it around better. The second half was completely dominated by the Czechs and it was just a matter of time before they opened the scoring. And so they did, when Petr Jiracek slotted home from close range. The goal created a sense of urgency in the Poland camp, but the changes hardly made any difference as Czechs continued to keep the ball and frustrate the hosts further.
Petr Cech – Rated 7
After getting rid of the greasy pair of gloves, which somewhat gifted the Greeks a goal, Cech was back in his usual self making a couple of really good saves and looked in control during set pieces.
Gebre Selassie - Rated 7
The right back made some pretty good runs down the right and linked up with Jiracek on some occasions, creating problems in the Polish defense. Gebre Selassie even took up positions close to the opposition penalty area, but was lucky to not have been punished by the Poles during quick counters.
Tomas Sivok - Rated 6
Neat and pretty organized defending by Sivok and came extremely close to scoring a goal when his close range header struck Tyton and stayed out.
Michal Kadlec - Rated 7
Has been very confident ever since he has been shifted back into his preferred position in the heart of defense. Did well to control Lewandowski most of the time, as he hardly gave space to the Dortmund striker to play with.
David Limbersky - Rated 6.5
Struggled against Blaszczykowski’s pace and trickery and earned himself a booking for a late challenge. Did well to launch quick counter attacks and looked very comfortable going forward.
Jaroslav Plasil - Rated 7.5
A very good performance from the experienced midfielder as he stepped up in the absence of Rosicky. The two footed Plasil put in good set piece deliveries throughout the game and played the box to box role pretty effectively.
Tomas Hubschmann - Rated 7
Picked up from where he left off against Greece and capped another good performance in the middle of the park helping his defense out. Worked tirelessly and often covered up for the advancing Gebre Selassie down the right side.
Petr Jiracek - Rated 8.5
Jiracek was once again top notch for the Czechs as he rounded off a beautiful performance with a finely executed goal.
Daniel Kolar - Rated 6.5
Struggled to have any bearing in the Czech play in the first half but grew in confidence in the second and became more involved as the game progressed. Controlled the play’s tempo and linked up with the attacking trio of Baros, Jiracek and Pilar pretty well. But lacked imagination as he rarely threatened to split the Polish defense with his passes.
Vaclav Pilar - Rated 9
The young winger has been the best Czech player so far in this tournament without a doubt. He was once again electric down the left and created continuous problems for the Polish defense.
Milan Baros - Rated 6.5
Rarely had anything to run into as the Czechs sorely missed Rosicky last night. Did well to hold up the ball against Perquis and rounded off his decent performance with an assist.
Frantisek Rajtoral (84′ on) -N/A
Jan Rezek (88′ on) -N/A
Tomas Pekhart (90′ on)-N/A
Przemyslaw Tyton - Rated 6
Got the nod ahead of Szczesny to start between the posts and did a good job until Jiracek slotted past him to score the only goal of the game.
Lukasz Piszczek - Rated 5
The Dortmund defender had a rare bad day last night as he was tormented throughout the game by Pilar. Rarely ventured forward to join the attack due to the threat Pilar posed during counter attacks.
Marcin Wasilewski - Rated 6
Was decent in the defense and showed great determination in the opponent penalty area during set pieces. However, he should have done better against Jiracek as the Czech winger got past him too easily to score the all important goal of the match.
Damien Perquis - Rated 6.5
Perquis defended pretty well against Baros but the Czech striker got the better of him as he marched into the box unchallenged and he slid one into Jiracek’s path to open the scoring.
Sebastian Boenisch - Rated 7
The left back put in a gritty performance and joined in the attack down the left. Kept a check on Jiracek effectively and was pretty often doubled up against by Gebre Selassie. His left footed pile driver from distance early in the first half brought the best out of Petr Cech.
Eugen Polanski - Rated 6
Had a decent first half as he mopped up the Polish midfield pretty well and had a valiant attempt on goal as his shot flew narrowly wide. Had to be taken off after he got a booking.
Dariusz Dudka - Rated 6.5
Strong and imposing figure in front of the defense and his goal line clearance in the late moments of the game kept the Poles in it.
Ludovic Obraniak - Ratewd 6.5
Started the game brilliantly as he controlled the play and threaded neat passes for Jakub and Lewandowski to score. His free kick early on was a terrific attempt and almost caught Cech unaware. Faded away as the match progressed.
Rafa Murawski - Rated 5
Partly to be blamed for the goal, as he lost the ball which eventually led to it. Was a lost figure in the field throughout his stay until he was substituted just after the goal.
Jakub Blaszcszykowski - Rated 7.5
The best Polish player on the pitch, started very well as he floated around in the midfield making it difficult for the Czech defense to pick him up. Had a one-on-one chance early on against Cech, but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.
Robert Lewandowski - Rated 5.5
Missed a real sitter after Blaszczykowski set him up in the early minutes of the game as he couldn’t connect his shot properly and sent it over the bar. Barely did anything noteworthy in the remainder of the game.
Kamil Grosicki (56’ on)- Rated 4.5
Barely managed to adjust to the game’s speed and had little or nothing to provide to the Polish attack.
Pawel Brozek (73’on)- Rated 5
Adrian Mierzejewski (73’ on) – Rated 5