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Ireland 0 Greece 1: Match report

Ireland 0 Greece 1: Holebas bags decisive goal as Republic lose at home again

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UPDATED:

02:05 GMT, 15 November 2012

Jose Holebas ensured the Republic of Ireland ended 2012 without the victory they craved as Giovanni Trapattoni's youngsters were undone by Greece.

The Italian's experimental side, which featured Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy, James McClean and Robbie Brady from the start and Wes Hoolahan after the break, competed well for long periods, but were unable to carve out the openings to take something from the game.

In front of a sparse crowd at the Aviva Stadium, where they were battered 6-1 by Germany in a World Cup qualifier last month, Ireland showed plenty of endeavour and at times craft, but they could not find the killer touch in front of goal.

Heated: The players of both teams clashed at the Aviva Stadium in dublin

Heated: The players of both teams clashed at the Aviva Stadium in dublin

MATCH FACTS

Rep of Ireland: Forde, Coleman, O'Shea, Clark, Ward, Brady (Hoolahan 46), McCarthy (Meyler 70), Whelan (Andrews 34), McClean, Cox (Keogh 61), Long (Doyle 46).

Subs Not Used: Randolph, O'Dea, Kelly, Clifford.

Booked: Long, Clark.

Greece: Karnezis, Torosidis (Maniatis 60), Papastathopoulos, Papadopoulos, Holebas (Fortounis 46), Stafylidis (Spyropoulos 82), Tziolis, Tachtsidis, Ninis (Vyntra 60), Mitroglou (Salpingidis 46), Samaras (Athanasiadis 46).

Subs Not Used: Peristeridis, Kone, Christodoulopoulos, Dimoutsos, Siovas.

Booked: Fortounis.

Goals: Holebas 29.

Att: 16,256

Ref: Eitan Shmuelevitz (Israel).

As a result, Holebas' sweet
29th-minute strike was enough to win the game for the visitors and leave
Trapattoni's detractors with enough ammunition to maintain their
opposition to his continued presence at the helm heading into March's
crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.

The 73-year-old, finally bowing to
mounting pressure, handed youth a chance as his side brought an end to
their 2012 campaign and tried to do so in style against the national
currently ranked 12th by FIFA.

Ireland slipped significantly in
FIFA's ranking table – to 36th place, 24 behind the Greeks – in the wake
of their humiliation at the hands of the Germans, and the Italian's
response was to include Aston Villa defender Clark, Wigan schemer
McCarthy and wingers Brady and McClean in his starting line-up.

He was also forced to make a late
change when goalkeeper Keiren Westwood withdrew with a groin injury and
Millwall's David Forde was handed an unexpected fourth senior cap.

Struggle: Ireland were unable to seal a win over Greece

Struggle: Ireland were unable to seal a win over Greece

Whack: Jose Holebas (right) put the winning goal in for the visitors

Whack: Jose Holebas (right) put the winning goal in for the visitors

It all started relatively promisingly
for the home side with McCarthy finding space in the middle of the
field to feed Brady and McClean on the flanks, and the movement of
strikers Shane Long and Simon Cox troubling the Greek defence.

Ireland had strong claims for a
first-minute penalty waved away by Israeli referee Eitan Shmuelevitz and
defender Konstantinos Stafylidis could consider himself extremely
fortunate not to be penalised for his less-than-effective attempt to
deal with Stephen Ward's deep cross.

Cox went to ground inside the box
under Sokratis Papastathopoulos' challenge three minutes later, but the
appeals on that occasion were more muted and also ignored, and McClean
scuffed a long-range effort wide.

But the Republic looked certain to
take the lead with 10 minutes gone when full-back Seamus Coleman, whose
combination with Brady proved a repeated threat down the right during
the opening 45 minutes, collected the winger's return pass and crossed.

Cox had found a yard of space and
climbed to meet the ball unopposed, but he was unable to hit the target
with just keeper Orestis Karnezis to beat.

Another defeat: Giovanni Trapattoni was deprived of the home win he craved

Another defeat: Giovanni Trapattoni was deprived of the home win he craved

Greece had offered little in
response, but gradually worked their way into the game and called Forde
into action for the first time when Sotiros Ninis took aim from 25 yards
and forced a diving 23rd-minute save.

However, the Republic failed to heed
the warning and fell behind six minutes later when skipper Georgios
Samaras, who had earlier had to leave the pitch for treatment to a head
wound, turned Konstantinos Mitroglou's pass into the path of Holebas,
who span John O'Shea and thumped the ball into the bottom corner.

Long and Clark were both booked for
clumsy challenges as the game unfolded in anything but friendly fashion,
but the home side had rather lost their way.

They might have levelled in injury
time when Brady tested Karnezis with a left-foot strike after being set
up by Long, but the goalkeeper was equal to the task.

Shall not pass: Kevin Doyle could not engineer a goal

Shall not pass: Kevin Doyle could not engineer a goal

There was warm applause from the
sparse crowd when, on their return, Ireland were joined by in-form
Norwich star Hoolahan, winning just his second cap, a fact which had not
gone unnoticed by Trapattoni's critics.

Brady departed along with Long to
accommodate his arrival and that of Kevin Doyle, who was asked to play a
lone striking role ahead of Hoolahan with Cox dropping in on the left
and McClean moving to the right.

Unlucky: James McClean (left) and Co could not bounce back from the 6-1 hammering by Germany last month

Unlucky: James McClean (left) and Co could not bounce back from the 6-1 hammering by Germany last month

Ironically Glenn Whelan, the man who
had pleaded with his manager earlier in the week to field an extra
midfielder, was back in the dressing room having limped off injured
before the break.

However, it was McCarthy who almost
dragged the Republic back into the game two minutes into the second half
when Karnezis failed to hold his long-range shot, although
Papastathopoulos prevented Doyle from converting the rebound and Cox's
follow-up was blocked.

But while perspiration was not in
short supply, inspiration was and the Irish failed to make the most of
the possession they were allowed as the game passed the hour-mark with
Greece's narrow lead intact.

Ward hacked a 69th-minute shot
harmlessly across the face of goal after the Greeks had failed to clear a
McClean free-kick, and Greece coasted to the final whistle and victory
with few alarms.

Greece v Czech Republic – Euro 2012 live

EURO 2012 LIVE: Greece v Czech Republic – follow the action from Wroclaw as it happens

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UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 12 June 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of Euro 2012 as the group stage moves into its second round of matches when Greece face Czech Republic in Wroclaw. After losing 4-1 to Russia on the opening day, the Czechs know that a second defeat against Fernando Santos's side will eliminate them for the tournament. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Greece 0-2 Czech Republic (5pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Greece: Chalkias (Sifakis 23), Torosidis, Kyriakos
Papadopoulos, Katsouranis, Holebas, Fotakis (Gekas 46), Maniatis, Karagounis,
Salpingidis, Samaras, Fortounis.
Subs: Tzorvas, Tzavelas, Malezas,
Makos, Liberopoulos, Mitroglou, Ninis, Fetfatzidis.

Czech
Republic: Cech, Gebre Selassie, Sivok, Kadlec, Limbersky, Hubschman,
Plasil, Jiracek, Rosicky (Kolar 46), Pilar, Baros.
Subs: Lastuvka, Suchy, Hubnik,
Necid, Rezek, Petrzela, Rajtoral, Pekhart, Lafata, Darida,
Drobny.

Goals: Jiracek 3, Pilar 6.

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

47min: It's nearly game over here, but Milan Baros fails to properly control a cross before fouling a Greek defender.

The former Liverpool striker looks nothing like the same player that was top scorer at Euro 2004.

Second-half: All change at the start of this period. The Czechs have brought on Daniel Kolar for Rosicky while Fanis Gekas has replaced Fotakis for the Greeks.

17.59: From InfostradaLive:

The last time a team failed to win a ECh match after leading 2-0 at half time was by Czech Republic: a 3-3 draw vs Russia in the group stage at Euro 1996. They are also the last team to lose after leading by a 2-0 score, a 3-2 defeat vs Turkey four years ago.

17.55: Day five and from Greece that is collectively the worst half of football I have seen a team play so far at these championships.

They were bad enough in the first 45 minutes against Poland but the Czechs haven't been as wasteful as the co-hosts and are full value for their 2-0 lead.

17.50: From OptaJoe:

1 – Greece had just one shot (blocked) vs Czech Republic in the first half. Quiet

Half-time: Greece 0-2 Czech Republic

45min: Puzzlingly only one added minute is called. Considering the change of keepers took at least 90 seconds I don't think referee Stephane Lannoy has done his sums correctly there.

44min: The last 10 minutes have been Greece's but with the Czechs being two goals ahead you just wonder how much effort they are putting into this now.

41min: In fact they are unfortunate not to pull a goal back. Torossidis' delicate chip into the box is well headed into the corner by Giorgos Fotakis but he is ruled offside. Replays show there is inches in it…if that. You could certainly debate it.

Cautioned: Czech Republic's Tomas Rosicky (10) was booked for raising a high foot

Cautioned: Czech Republic's Tomas Rosicky (10) was booked for raising a high foot

39min: Good news for Greece…well sort of. They are seeing more of the ball now and are at least starting to show some purpose in attack.

Okay I know that's not great, but given how badly they started it's a big improvement.

36min: It's gone a bit scrappy in the last few minutes as now goal scorer Jiracek is cautioned for raising a high boot.

33min: The Greek defence is treading a fine line now as Vassilas Torosidis is booked for a clumsy challenge on Pilar – who has been superb in this half.

30min: Only one team looks like scoring and it's not Greece. Sifakis is called into action for the first time as he palms away a low Rosicky strike. Decent stop from the ring-rusty keeper.

27min: That's a bit reckless from Rosicky. The ball is there to be won but the Arsenal midfielder follows through after raising a high foot at Karagounis' head and is booked.

25min: More set-piece watch for Greece and they are not getting closer. Giorgios Karagounis' free-kick from the right is aimed at Samaras but again the Czechs head clear. Comfortable doesn't begin to describe this for Bilek's team.

Gloves are off: Greece coach Fernando Santos (right) walks towards goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias (left) as he is substituted by Michalis Sifakis

Gloves are off: Greece coach Fernando Santos (right) walks towards goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias (left) as he is substituted by Michalis Sifakis

23min: This game is really getting worse and worse for Greece. After Chalkias curiously passes the ball out of play, he has a short discussion with the referee before deciding he can no longer continue.

It looks like a hamstring complaint and Michalis Sifakis is on in his place – he only played four games for Aris last term.

20min: Nearly a second for Pilar, but his low drive from 20 yards just drags wide of Chalkias's near post.

18min: I said set-pieces would be key for Greece but in the two free-kicks they have won so far, both deliveries have been easily cleared by the Czech Republic defence. They are not making it easy for themselves.

15min: From InfostradaLive:

This is the fastest ever 2-0 lead in a ECh match. Previous record was Netherlands vs Germany at Euro 1992 when the Dutch led 2-0 after 15 minutes (3-1 result).

12min: It's not looking that much better up front too. One hopeful ball into the box for Gerorgios Samaras is all Greece have mustered so far.

9min: Santos's side is all over the place! Every time Bilek's team go forward they look a major threat. It's amateur hour in the Greek defence which is failing to hold any sort of line.

Crucial touch: Vaclav Pilar doubled Czech Republic's lead in just the sixth minute of the game

Crucial touch: Vaclav Pilar doubled Czech Republic's lead in just the sixth minute of the game

Crucial touch: Vaclav Pilar doubled Czech Republic's lead in just the sixth minute of the game

6min: GOAL! Greece 0-2 CZECH REPUBLIC

It's like taking candy from a baby.
The Czechs score with their second meaningful attack as Theodor Gebre
Selassie crosses low from the byline and Vaclav Pilar is on hand to bundle the ball in from close range.

Quick out the blocks: Petr Jiracek blasted Czech Republic in front after just three minutes

Quick out the blocks: Petr Jiracek blasted Czech Republic in front after just three minutes

Quick out the blocks: Petr Jiracek blasted Czech Republic in front after just three minutes

3min: GOAL! Greece 0-1 CZECH REPUBLIC

Perfect start from the Czechs!
Hubschman justifies his inclusion in the side by threading a pass
through that splits the defence and allows Petr Jiracek to blast past Konstantinos Chalkias.

Heads up: Georgios Samaras (left) wins a header for Greece

Heads up: Georgios Samaras (left) wins a header for Greece

Kick-off: Away we go then – with a draw doing neither a favour, let's hope for an attacking game.

16.55: Out come the teams to an overcast Wroclaw.

16.50: From InfostradaLive:

The age difference between Kostas Chalkias and Kostas Fortounis is 18 years and 139 days, second largest between two teammates in ECh match. Record is held by Germany’s Lothar Matthus and Sebastian Deisler at Euro 2000 (18 years and 290 days).

16.45: It's an altogether different battle for Czech Republic…in a tactical sense anyway.

Where as Russia carved them open with relative ease I can't see Greece playing the same way.

Instead Petr Cech and friends will have to be more alert from set-pieces – something I thought they defended relativley well against the Russians.

Fly the flag: Greece fans unveil their national flag before the game

Fly the flag: Greece fans unveil their national flag before the game

16.40: From InfostradaLive:

At Euro 2008 there were 3 countries that progressed from the group despite losing their opening match. The Czechs did it in 1996.

16.35: So the Czech Republic could go out but Greece need a win just as badly if they want to go through to the quarter-finals.

Anything less than three points and Fernando Santos's team will have to beat Russia in their final group game – that doesn't look particularly appealing for any side at the moment, the Russians are arguably team of the tournament so far.

16.30: From InfostradaLive:

Greece have not conceded a goal in their last 4 games vs Czech Republic – winning 1-0 twice and drawing 0-0 twice.

16.25: And boy was that a hammering the Czechs took. It was only a late blitz from Russia that added the gloss on to the scoreline but few could deny Michal Bilek's team were thoroughly outclassed for most of the match.

The passion was there but the skill wasn't and I think Greece will be the more confident of the two sides today.

16.20: Changes for the Czechs too. David Limbersky, who once had a loan spell at Tottenham, comes in at left back to replace Roman Hubnik.

While in midfield, Tomas Hubschman, who came on in the 4-1 loss against Russia, takes the place of Jan Rezak.

16.15: Just reward for Dimitris Salpingidis then, who secures a starting spot for Greece after coming off the bench to score and inspire 10 men to snatch a point off Poland on the opening day. No surprises there really – he changed the game.

Ready for battle: Greece and Czech Republic fans get set for their sides' second group match

Ready for battle: Greece and Czech Republic fans get set for their sides' second group match

Ready for battle: Greece and Czech Republic fans get set for their sides' second group match

16.10: Full line-ups from Wroclaw:

Greece v Czech Republic
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)

16.05: Such is the fast paced world of tournament football, just one day after Sweden and Ukraine opened their Euro 2012 campaign, Czech Republic are now on the verge of going out of the tournament.

It's day five in Poland/Ukraine and already we have hit do-or-die. Team news on the way

Early exit: Tomas Rosicky's Czech Republic face elimination from Euro 2012 if they lose against Greece

Early exit: Tomas Rosicky's Czech Republic face elimination from Euro 2012 if they lose against Greece

Euro 2012: Poland 1 Greece 1 – match report

Poland 1 Greece 1: Szczesny nightmare with clanger then red card

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UPDATED:

18:41 GMT, 8 June 2012

Substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton was the hero for Poland in a dramatic European Championship opener in Warsaw in which both sides finished with 10 men.

Tyton came off the bench in the second half for the co-hosts after Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had been sent off for bringing down Greek substitute Dimitris Salpigidis.

Spot of bother: Greece threw away three points in the Euro 2012 opener after Giorgos Karagounis saw his penalty saved

Spot of bother: Greece threw away three points in the Euro 2012 opener after Giorgos Karagounis saw his penalty saved

MATCH FACTS

POLAND: Szczesny, Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch, Murawski, Polanski, Blaszczykowski, Obraniak, Rybus (Tyton 70), Lewandowski. Subs not used: Sandomierski, Wojtkowiak, Kaminski, Dudka, Matuszczyk, Wawrzyniak, Sobiech, Mierzejewski, Wolski, Grosicki, Brozek.

Goals: Lewandoswki 17.

Sent off: Szczesny

GREECE: Chalkias, Torosidis, Papastathopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos (Kyriakos Papadopoulos 37), Holebas, Maniatis, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Ninis (Salpingidis 46), Gekas (Fortounis 68), Samaras. Subs not used: Tzorvas, Tzavelas, Malezas, Makos, Liberopoulos, Mitroglou, Fotakis, Fetfatzidis, Sifakis.

Goals: Salpingidis 51.

Booked: Holebas

Sent off: Papastathopoulos

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain))

The reserve goalkeeper promptly saved
the resulting spot-kick from Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis to
ensure the points were shared in a wonderfully entertaining match in
Group A at the National Stadium.

Poland will be kicking themselves,
however, after throwing it away having gone in at half-time with a
one-goal lead and with Greece down to 10 men after defender Sokratis
Papastathopoulos was sent off harshly for two innocuous yellow cards.

The Poles, who began the game with swaggering intent in front their home fans, had dominated the first half.

It was no surprise when Robert
Lewandowski gave them the perfect start after 17 minutes, although the
goal had as much to do with the poor positioning of Greek goalkeeper
Kostas Chalkias as the sharpness of Lewandowski.

Chalkias found himself flapping his
arms in no man's land to leave the Borussia Dortmund striker, who scored
a hat-trick in the German cup final last month, to head home a swinging
cross from Jakub Blaszczykowski. It was no more than the Poles
deserved.

Seeing red: Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for fouling Dimitris Salpingidis

Seeing red: Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for fouling Dimitris Salpingidis

Seeing red: Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was dismissed for fouling Dimitris Salpingidis

They were hungrier, quicker to the
ball and seemingly desperate to prove that while they are the
lowest-ranked team in the tournament they have a realistic chance of
reaching the quarter finals at least.

In that 45 minutes the Greeks looked a
shadow of the organised side who had gained a reputation for being
tough to beat, having lost just one of 21 games under manager Fernando
Santos.

Net gains: Robert Lewandowski gave his side the lead inside 20 minutes with a header

Net gains: Robert Lewandowski gave his side the lead inside 20 minutes with a header

In fact, the Poles would have been
kicking themselves that they were not further ahead at half-time after
Rafal Murawski, Maciej Rybus and Lewandowski all missed clear-cut
chances.

Damien Perquis should also have
scored when the ball fell to him in the penalty area but the Polish
defender, in unfamiliar territory, drilled his shot wildly wide of the
post.

Pure delight: Lewandowski's strike sent the host nation into raptures, both inside and outside the ground

Pure delight: Lewandowski's strike sent the host nation into raptures, both inside and outside the ground

Pure delight: Lewandowski's strike sent the host nation into raptures, both inside and outside the ground

It looked as if the Greeks' fortune had deserted them completely, however, when Papastathopoulos saw red just before half-time.

The Greek defender had become the
first player to be booked in the tournament when he received the yellow
card from Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo for what appeared an
harmless challenge with a Polish attacker.

Shock: Sokratis Papastathopoulos was harshly sent off by referee Carlos Velasco Carballo for two yellow cards

Shock: Sokratis Papastathopoulos was harshly sent off by referee Carlos Velasco Carballo for two yellow cards

His second yellow was equally as
harsh when he was adjudged to have brought down Murawski. The referee,
however, produced red and Greece were down to 10 men and seemingly
heading to an opening defeat.

Perhaps fired up by the injustice the
Greeks, however, came out in the second half with more determination
and resolve and it paid off, even in they did have Szczesny to thank for
their equaliser.

Back in it: A mistake by Szczesny allowed Dimitris Salpigidis to poke his side back on level terms

Back in it: A mistake by Szczesny allowed Dimitris Salpigidis to poke his side back on level terms

Back in it: A mistake by Szczesny allowed Dimitris Salpigidis to poke his side back on level terms

Szczesny raced out of his goal
attempting to collect Vassilis Torosidis' right-wing cross but misjudged
it totally, allowing substitute Salpigidis to score from close-range.

The drama, however, was far from
finished and the teams were down to 10 players each after 70 minutes
when Szczesny endured a moment of madness, sticking out a leg to trip
Salpigidis in the penalty area.

Spotlight: The new National Stadium in Warsaw was a stunning arena for the match to take place, with all the traditional pre-tournament festivities

Spotlight: The new National Stadium in Warsaw was a stunning arena for the match to take place, with all the traditional pre-tournament festivities

Spotlight: The new National Stadium in Warsaw was a stunning arena for the match to take place, with all the traditional pre-tournament festivities

The resulting penalty was delayed
while PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Tyton came off the bench and Maciej Rybus
went off, but Tyton's first action was the most crucial of the match,
saving the tame spot-kick of Karagounis.

A point was probably a fair result. But what a dramatic way for Euro 2012 to begin.