Soccer / Euro 2012 / Grecians finally find winning formula
Blank Russia 1-0 to reach quarters while Czechs top Poland by identical score.
Greece upset in-form Russia 1-0 on Saturday with a late first-half goal by Giorgos Karagounis that sent the 2004 European champion into the Euro 2012 quarterfinals and dumped its opponent out of the tournament. Greece advanced along with Group A winner Czech Republic, which blanked Poland 1-0 and completed a remarkable comeback after losing its opener against Russia 4-1.
Both Greece and Russia had their share of early chances but Greece looked far more solid at the back than in previous games, stifling waves of early Russian attacks.
Captain Karagounis, who will miss the next match after being booked in the second half, fired them ahead deep into first-half stoppage time, rifling his shot from the right past keeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev.
It was one-way traffic in the second half with Russia desperate for an equaliser but it was the Greeks who went closest to scoring again when Giorgos Tzavellas's well-struck left-foot free kick rattled the woodwork in the 70th minute.
In Wroclaw, Petr Jiracek scored 18 minutes from time to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 win over Poland that made it the Group A winner and ended the co-host's interest in the tournament.
Before the goal both teams were on their way out after Greece took the lead against Russia in Warsaw, but Jiracek kept his head in a tension-racked, rain-lashed encounter to cut inside Sebastian Boenisch and steer the ball past Przemyslaw Tyton.
Poland, needing to win to advance, had the best of the first half as striker Robert Lewandowski missed a great chance after 10 minutes but they barely threatened in the second and can have no complaints about the result.
The Czechs will play the runners up of Group B in the quarterfinals.
UEFA opens racism case against Croatia
UEFA made its first formal charges of racism at the European Championship on Saturday, opening a case against the Croatian soccer association after receiving reports that fans made monkey chants at Italy forward Mario Balotelli.
Croatia is charged with "improper conduct" of supporters, including "racist chants, racist symbols" at a game in Poznan on Thursday, the European soccer governing body said in a statement.
UEFA received reports from anti-discrimination monitors, who wrote that Croatia fans made monkey noises and displayed far-right nationalist flags.
Balotelli, who is black, started the game for Italy against Croatia, and was replaced in the second half of the 1-1 draw.
On Friday, a clever Danny Welbeck goal fired England to a 3-2 comeback victory against Sweden that put it joint top of Group D with France, which beat Ukraine 2-0, and eliminated the Swedes.
Striker Andy Carroll, in the starting lineup in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, rewarded coach Roy Hodgson's faith with a stunning 23rd-minute header to put England ahead in an action-packed encounter.
But a Glen Johnson own goal and a close-range header from an unmarked Olof Mellberg after the break put Sweden 2-1 ahead before substitute Theo Walcott sent a swerving effort through a crowd of players past unsighted Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.