Euro 2012PreviewSchedule

Matchday 9: Group Stage Enters Final Round–Greece-Russia & Czech Republic-Poland Today

June 15, 2012 — by Suman


The last round of group stage matches starts today, with the last two matches in Group A–meaning that we’ll have our first two quarterfinalists by the end of the day. It also means the day’s two matches are played simultaneously. So get your picture-in-picture ready–or put one on your TV and stream the other on your computer.  Or better yet, head to your local footy-friendly watering hole–we’ll try to watch at least one of the next few days at our local spot, WoodworkBK.

The match to watch today is Czech Republic-Poland. Poland will be playing in front of a partisan home crowd in Wroclaw, while Czech captain and playmaker (and GunnerTomáš Rosický (“the Little Mozart of football”, as we detailed in an extended postscript to this post) is doubtful following an Achilles tendon injury suffered against Greece.  So Poland are perhaps the favorites–but they have yet to win a match, and the pressure will be on them. For Poland the focus and onus will again be on the Dortmund trio–attacking right back Łukasz Piszczek, right-sided midfielder (and captain) Jakub (“Kuba”) Błaszczykowski, and striker Robert Lewandowski.  In addition, goalkeeper (and another Gunner) Wojciech Szczęsny returns after a one-game suspension for the red card he received in the opening match against Greece.

In the other match, Russia, a team that has impressed, should beat a Greece side that hasn’t. But the Russians have a reputation for losing interest and focus–and remarkably Greece would advance with a win.  For Russia the standout performers have been captain Andrei Arshavin (still on Arsenal’s books, but went back to Mother Russia in January on loan to his home club of Zenit St. Petersburg) and youngster Alan Dzagoev–who is, as Eastern European football expert Jonathan Wilson writes today, finally meeting Russia’s expectations.

See below for Group A standings and today’s fixtures (via, and below that a scenario analysis (via wikipedia) of which teams advances in each of the 9 outcomes (3 possible outcomes in each of the 2 matches implies 3^2 = 9 possible outcomes). Although it’s even more complicated than that, as certain of those scenarios bring into play goal differential (the first tie-breaker).

In fact, it appears that not only do all four teams have a chance to advance, but that each of the six 2-team combinations is still a possibility. No wonder writes: “I’m not too sure who will be more interested in the final round of group matches in Groups A and B: football fans or mathematicians. To say things are tight is an understatement. To say they’re complicated is a fair statement.”

Group A

Teams P W D L F A +/- Pts
Russia Russia 2 1 1 0 5 2 3 4
Czech Republic Czech Republic 2 1 0 1 3 5 -2 3
Poland Poland 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
Greece Greece 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1
16 June 2012
Greece Greece Russia Russia
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE) – Stadium: National Stadium Warsaw, Warsaw (POL)
Czech Republic Czech Republic Poland Poland
Referee: Craig Thomson (SCO) – Stadium: Municipal Stadium Wroclaw, Wroclaw (POL)

Scenario analysis via UEFA Euro 2012 Group A – Wikipedia:

On the last match day (16 June) the teams advancing from this group (winner; runner-up) will be:[1][2][3]

If: Czech Republic win draw Poland win
Greece win Czech Republic; Greece Greece and Russia or Czech Republic1 Poland; Greece
draw Czech Republic; Russia Russia; Czech Republic Russia and Poland2
Russia win Russia; Czech Republic Russia; Czech Republic Russia; Poland
  1. Positions determined by score of Greece v Russia
    (a) Russia; Greece – if Greece win by 1 or 2 goals
    (b) Greece; Russia – if Greece win by 3 to 5 goals
    (c) Greece; Czech Republic – if Greece win by at least 6 goals
  2. Poland win the group if they win by at least 4 goals (3 if they score at least 4 more than Russia); otherwise Russia win the group



  1. ^ Peter Katsiris (13 June 2012). “UEFA EURO 2012: The Math behind Group A”. Football Hellas. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  2. ^ “Euro 2012 Diary: Mathematicians to work out who qualifies from Groups A and B”. Betfair. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  3. ^ Johnson, Dale (13 June 2012). “Euro 2012 Group permutations”. ESPN. Retrieved 15 June 2012.


Euro 2012 Matchday 5: Russia Invades Poland

June 12, 2012 — by Suman3


Yesterday’s match: France and England drew 1-1 in a desultory affair, while Ukraine beat Sweden in a thrilling match at Kyiv’s Olympic Stadium, in front of a delirious home crowd.

Today’s Group A action–the first time we’re seeing teams play their second set of matches: Greece-Czech Republic was the early match, with Czech Republic rebounding from their “Russian concussion” to win 2-1, and put themselves back in contention for 2nd at least.

But the big match of the day is between two nations with a lot of historical baggage that’s being brought to Warsaw today–Russia versus Poland.

Here are the fixtures–scroll down for some preview notes:

12 June 2012
Greece Greece 1-2 Czech Republic Czech Republic
Referee: Stéphane Lannoy (FRA) – Stadium: Municipal Stadium Wroclaw, Wroclaw (POL)
Poland Poland Russia Russia
Referee: Wolfgang Stark (GER) – Stadium: National Stadium Warsaw, Warsaw (POL)

The NYTimes provides some historical context to today’s tense match, in a article headlined “In Poland, Match With Russia Goes Far Beyond Soccer“:

Poland is enjoying its turn on the European stage, co-hosting the prestigious European soccer championship, which the country’s leaders hoped to use as a coming-out party for their newly confident nation. There is only one problem, and it is a familiar one: Russia.

Centuries of enmity have defined the relationship between Poland and Russia. Their history is filled with war, conquest and occupation. More recently, a significant minority of Poles have come to believe that the Russians were responsible for the plane crash in 2010 that killed President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 others.


Add to the mix the plans that Russian fans, celebrating their national holiday, Russia Day, on Tuesday, have made to march to the stadium before the game. Some are said to be planning to wear T-shirts featuring the Soviet hammer and sickle.

“Let’s wait and see what happens on Tuesday, but if Russians decide to promote any Soviet symbols, it’ll be an unprecedented scandal and a real affront to Poland,” said Mariusz Kaminski, 46, a senior member of the opposition Law and Justice Party. “It would be as if Germans visited Tel Aviv sporting swastikas.”

The threat of an outburst from either side, or both, is all the more unfortunate to many Poles because the tournament, from its years of preparation to last week’s opening ceremony, has been such a point of pride.

The European championship was their moment to show off the highways and train stations built in anticipation of the event, as well as top-of-the-line soccer stadiums. Up to now, nearly all of the negative publicity has been directed at the other host country, Ukraine, and its imprisonment of a former prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko.

And from the Ukrainian press, “Битва за Варшаву. Анонс матча Польша vs Россия” (roughly: “The Battle of Warsaw: Russia vs Poland Match Preview”):

 …if the plans are fans of the Russian Federation, as reported by the media, with the emission of paper airplanes on the field with a hint of a plane crash with the Polish president Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Smolensk – the truth, the degree of control at the National Stadium in Warsaw will pass far beyond the mark of a boil.

Approximate composition:

Poland: Tyton – Pischek, Berkey, Wasilewski, Behnisch – Dudka, Murawski, Polanski – Blaschikovski, Obraniak – Lewandowski

Russia: Malafeev – Anyukov, Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Zhirkov – Denisov, Zyryanov, Shirokov – Arshavin, Dzagoev, Kerzhakov

We’re hearing reports now of violent clashes between the Russian and Polish fans within the last couple hours, with Warsaw police making 50+ arrests. Let’s hope things are calm within the stadium and on the pitch for the next couple hours.


Euro 2012

Russians steamroll Czechs

June 8, 2012 — by Sean1


What a lot of exciting football we had today! But before that, there were the opening ceremonies.

There was some prancing around, which I honestly didn’t mind. Gives a sense of fanfare beyond your regular club get together is what I think. Toward the end of proceedings a clearly geeked pianist was joined in the center circle by a wild-looking, overweight DJ to perform a Chopin – house music mashup that, though I couldn’t hear, was probably as good as it looked.

Then it was on to the game, and what a game! Dodgy calls, red cards, a saved penalty kick. Poland were lively moving forward, connecting quick strings of passes on the way to chance after chance. Long story short: great game, 1-1 and the points shared. Go watch a replay. ESPN3 has them up

The second game between the Russians and the Czechs started out closer to the Velvet Revolution, but ended more like the Prague Spring. I’ll be damned if I can remember much in the way of who did what, but the Russians pretty much dominated the periods between 5 minutes and 50mins, and then from about 55mins until the final whistle. It looked a lot like the video below.

Euro 2012News

Matchday 1: Poland-Greece & Russia-Czech Rep

June 8, 2012 — by Suman5


It’s the opening day of Euro 2012.  Join us in the comments if you’re watching either of today’s two fixtures

Poland Poland Greece Greece
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (ESP) – Stadium: National Stadium Warsaw, Warsaw (POL)

(Two time conversions to keep in mind: 18:00CET = 12pmET and 20:45CET = 2:45pmET.  All matches kickoff at one of those two times!)

Russia Russia Czech Republic Czech Republic
Referee: Howard Webb (ENG) – Stadium: Municipal Stadium Wroclaw, Wroclaw (POL)


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