- match commentary
- European Championship Finals
- 12 June 2012, 6:45pm
- National Stadium
A magnificent equaliser from Poland skipper Jakub Blaszczykowski rescued a 1-1 draw for the Euro 2012 co-hosts against Russia.
Alan Dzagoev headed in Andrei Arshavin's 37th-minute free-kick to put Russia ahead in the Group A clash at Warsaw's National Stadium. However, Blaszczykowski's strike from outside the box after an assist from his Borussia Dortmund team-mate Lukas Piszczek in the 57th minute earned Poland another vital point.
Ugly scenes on the streets of Warsaw prior to kick-off threatened to overshadow this keenly-anticipated match, but both teams turned the focus back to football with a thrilling end-to-end tussle.
Blaszczykowski's goal scuppered Russia's hopes of becoming the first team to book their place in the knockout stages. It was a richly-deserved point for the Poles, who were frustrated in their opening draw with Greece, but set a stunning pace in the first period and repelled the majority of the impressive Russian advances.
Franciszek Smuda's side almost grabbed a seventh-minute lead when a glancing header from Sebastian Boenisch was superbly saved by Russian keeper Vyacheslav Malafeev, who was kept busy throughout the night. Boenisch rose highest again from the resulting corner but this time could only direct his header into the arms of a relieved Malafeev. With the Russians struggling to make any kind of impact, Poland continued to press and Robert Lewandowski almost conjured an opener out of nothing when he hooked a volley just over the bar in the 12th minute. Poland had the ball in the net in the 19th minute when Lewandowski played in Eugen Polanski who drilled a low shot beyond Malafeev but was correctly pulled up for straying offside. Playing an exciting brand of fluent passing football, the Poles were dominant and Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich had to get in with a fine intervention to deny Lewandowski another chance in the box. Russia finally started to get to grips with the game as it approached the half-hour mark, with first Arshavin bursting down the right and crossing for Alexander Kerzhakov, who headed high and wide.
And in the 28th minute, the roles were reversed as Kerzhakov turned provider from the right, sending in a low cross which just eluded the stretching Arshavin in front of goal.
Russia's best spell of the match resulted in the opening goal in the 37th minute as Arshavin delivered a superb free-kick from the left flank and Dzagoev flashed home a header past Przemyslaw Tyton. Poland almost responded immediately, with Blaszczykowski's powerful drive beaten away by Malafeev, but the Russians were beginning to play with the same kind of confident swagger evident in their opening group win. But Russia ended the half well on top, with Dzagoev and Yuri Zhirkov both having close-range chances and the goalscorer unlucky not to earn a penalty in first-half injury-time after being pushed over in the box.
Poland started the second half in the same manner they approached the third, and came close within two minutes of the restart when Polanski's brilliant through-ball found Lewandowski but he was pushed wide and out of play by the advancing Malafeev. It was all Poland again with Ludovic Obraniak and Damien Perquis both coming close before the Russians threatened with a swift counter in the 50th minute, Kerzhakov's dangerous run eventually intercepted by Dariusz Dudka.
Blaszczykowski sparked jubilation in the 58th minute when he got on the end of a Polish breakaway down the right and cut inside to sent a superb left-foot drive beyond Malafeev and into the corner of the net. As the game sprang into life, Dzagoev scuffed a shot straight at Tyton after being flicked through by Kerzhakov, and almost immediately at the other end Blaszczykowski made ground down the left before blazing high and wide.
The result means Russia top Group A with four points, with the Czech Republic second after they beat Greece 2-1 in Wroclaw earlier in the day. Poland are third with two points, and the Greeks are bottom with one point. The group concludes on Saturday night, when Russia face Greece and Poland take on Czech Republic knowing they must win to have any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.
match commentary: Mark Scott
90+3 MINS: IT'S ALL OVER! Russia just about deal with the delivery and the ref's whistle blows for the final time not long after. What a brilliant game in Warsaw which was packed full of top quality play and drama. That draw means that Group A is still wide open going into the final round of games on the June 16. On the evidence so far you would fancy the Russians and the co-hosts Poland to advance but who knows? Thanks for joining Orange's live coverage. Stay tuned for the full-match report.
90+2 mins: Now then. Arshavin has given away a silly free-kick inside his own half. Can Poland find a winner?
90+2 mins: Poland throw on Celtic striker Brozek for Obraniak.
90 mins: That someone could have been Lewandowski for Poland but Piszczek's cross towards him forces him right back out wide. Three minutes left in this thoroughly entertaining match.
87 mins: The game has tailed off in the last few minutes as Poland have retreated slightly, seemingly happy for the Russians to knock the ball around the midfield area
84 mins:Polankski is struggling with a knock so he limps off to be replaced by Matuschyk.
81 mins: Polanski is in the book for a late tackle on the impressive Zhirkov. Seconds later, Malafeev is forced into making a smart stop low to his right hands side. Still wide, wide open this one!
79 mins: Russia make another change and it's Izmailov coming on for goalscorer Dzagoev who is having an amazing tournament so far.
Thomas, Ilkeston - "Both teams will play well but my prediction is a draw- 1:1"
77 mins: Both sides are still extremely positive they can grab all three points here which is making for an enthralling finish. Boenisch bombs forward from the left-back before spooning an ambitious shot over.
75 mins: Dzagoev is the first Russian to be booked at Euro 2012 as he has a bit too much to say to German referee Wolfgang Stark. God knows what language though.
73 mins: Poland quickly respond with a change of their own as Mierzejewski comes on for Dudka. He's instantly involved too, dragging a left-footed wide of Malafeev's right post from distance.
71 mins: Arshavin, who has three assists to his name already in this thrilling tournament, tries to get on the scoresheet but his feeble effort from the left is easily saved by Tyton.
70 mins: On comes Super Pav then for Russia and it's for the goalless Kerzhakov who has put in another excellent shift with his clever runs and link-up play.
68 mins: My prediction is almost ruined by Dzagoev who cuts inside on to his left peg and fires a side-footed shot low to Malafeev's left. Then at the other end, Polanski forces Tyton to save with his feet from an acute angle
66 mins: Russia are continuing to push on and win a corner from the right which Zhirkov trots over to take. The ref immediately blows for a Poland free-kick after spotting a bit of pushing. I fancy Pavlyuchenko to come off the bench to score the winner for Russia.
63 mins: Zhirkov has Tyton diving complete with a Superman pose after he dinks in a clever cross with the outside of the boot. Moments later, Arshavin loses possession in the opposition area after dwelling on the ball.
60 mins: Denisov is a lucky boy for Russia as he kicks back out at Lewandowski after he made a rash tackle. It's the Polish striker who is in the book when really both players should have been punished.
57 MINS: POLAND ARE LEVEL! Pandemonium! Arshavin's cross is intercepted and Poland attack down the very dangerous right wing that they possess. The captain BLASZCZYKOWSKI cuts inside and drills the ball past the fully-stretched Malafeev and into the far corner. An emphatic finish!
54 mins: There's a mix-up at the back for Poland as Perquis and Wasilewski go for the same ball inside their own area. It drops to Zhirkov but he fluffs the volley.
51 mins: Kerzhakov is just about to bear down on goal until Perquis rallies back to make a inch-perfect slide tackle to dispossess the striker. I'm sure there will be plenty more goals in this one.
49 mins: This game is incredibly stretched. Former Chelsea man Zhirkov thunders past Piszczek to the left byline but his cut back into the area evades Dzagoev. Poland break instantly where Lewandowski makes another smart run but is thwarted by Malafeev who makes a heroic punch away.
47 mins: A positive start from the co-hosts here. Lewandowski is slipped in but he can't get a proper sight of goal from an acute angle despite rounding the keeper. Two quick corners follow, but Malafeev doesn't have to budge for either.
45 mins: Welcome back for the second half where Russia get us restarted once again. Both sides are unchanged.
Tenzin, India -"there'll be two more goals from russia"
HALF-TIME: The ref brings an end to an absorbing first-half in Warsaw. Poland have played well, but only in short bursts and have work to do against a Russian side who are currently marching into the quarter-final stages. Join me back here in 15 minutes for the second half.
45 mins: Russia's transitional play is so, so dangerous and once again they swarm forward from the back. Arshavin plays in Kerzhakov who eventually crosses towards goalscorer Dzagoev but the ref spots a free-kick for the now worried Poland. Two minutes added on.
42 mins: Wasilewski stops what would have been a disastrous second goal to concede just before the break. The Polish defender slides in desperately to stop Dzagoev's square ball finding the lively Kerzhakov.
Mark, Hull -"This game needs a goal desperately!!" (You have your wish Mark!)
39 mins: Poland try to bounce back instantly with Blaszczykowski letting rip from 20 yards out but Malafeev manages to claw it away from goal. The wait continues for our first 0-0 of Euro 2012. I bet you I commentate on it.
37 MINS: RUSSIA TAKE THE LEAD! It's been coming too as the Russians have really improved over the last ten minutes. Arshavin whips in a dangerous free-kick from the left and DZAGOEV is there to flick it in. That's his third goal of the tournament already!
34 mins: Shirokov wanders into space, turns instantly, and prods the ball through looking for Kerzhakov to latch on to it. Tyton races off his line though to collect it, allowing his defence to regroup.
31 mins: Dzagoev stabs in a cross from the left hand side looking for Arshavin at the back post but it's overhit from the CSKA Moscow playmaker.
Deolyn, South Africa -"top flight football with alot of fouls maybe a red or two"
28 mins: Russia are working their way back into this engaging game with Arshavin a toenail away from connecting with Kerzhakov's cross from the right. Kerzhakov is then involved again moments later but he blasts a long-range drive well wide.
25 mins: Arshavin, who has been quiet so far, dribbles inside from the left flank and pops the ball in for Kerzhakov to head wide of the far post. Tyton is still yet to be properly tested in the Polish goal.
23 mins: Russia are living dangerously at the moment with their deep defensive line. Lewandowski and then Murawski both fail to connect with a low cross from the right byline and Aniukov is there with a last-ditch clearance.
21 mins: Anderlecht's Wasilewski sneaks away from his man in the Russian area but he can't keep his header towards the left post down
18 mins: Polanski scores for Poland... but it's chalked off for offside! A shame really as the link-up play between the Polish attackers is subline. Lewandowski's through ball was played a fraction too early
15 mins: The players are allowed a breather as Perquis sustains a nasty looking cut. He's soon patched up though and slots straight back into the heart of the Polish defence who are going to have to be on their toes this evening.
Angelo, South Africa -"fast pace first lets hope the it not a draw "
13 mins: Plenty going on in the opening stages. Lewandowski, the focal point in the Poland attack, belts a volley inches over the crossbar before Kerzhakov goes down at the other end. Replays show though Perquis made a fantastic recovery tackle.
10 mins: Shirokov plays a lovely first-time sweeping ball into the path of Kerzhakov who brings the ball down expertly. He's through on goal but the flag is up for offside. He moved just a second too early.
Tenzin, India -"it will be Russia 3-0 Poland"
8 mins:Poland go close! The co-hosts win a free-kick on the right wing and it's drilled in wonderfully by Blaszczykowski. Boenisch rises well and thinks he has scored but there's Malafeev with an impressive stop.
Joshua Gilson, hull -"Poland 2-1"
5 mins: Deafening whistles as Russia win the first corner of this highly-charged match. Arshavin plays it short before his cross fails to beat the first man.
3 mins: We've started at breakneck speed with both sides pressing forward very early on. Arshavin's smart pass with the outside of the right post looks to have played Kerzakhov but the striker is forced out towards the corner flag.
Rishal, South Africa -"russia will run out winner with the first goal been scored by arshavin"
0 mins: The co-hosts certainly know how to create an atmosphere. An incredible noise coming from inside the National Stadium. Poland, in their all-white kits, get off playing from left to right as I see it. Russia are decked in red.
1940: I tell you what I'm glad I'm not in Warsaw this evening. Tonight's match has already been marred by Poland and Russia fans clashing outside the ground. I think it's fair to say they don't get along with each other. The two teams are entering the field of play, hopefully tempers won't boil over in the next 90 minutes.
1915: Welcome to Orange's live coverage of the Group A grudge match between Poland and Russia in Warsaw.
Russian coach Dick Advocaat keeps the faith in striker Aleksandr Kerzakhov who despite missing a vast array of chances in the 4-1 win against the Czech Republic, tormented and tired the defence with his movement and link-up play.
Russia could all but seal top spot in the group with another victory this evening whilst co-hosts Poland will be desperate to advance into the quarter-finals via the runner-up spot.
Poland make two changes from the 1-1 draw against Greece. Tyton is in the sticks for the suspended Szczesny and Dudka replaces Rybus.
Orange commentator Mark Scott will be bringing you live updates from 1945. In the meantime, you can send him your bets, predictions or any other pre-match rambles you have via the link at the top of your screen.