Russia miss their chance of going through to the quarter-finals following a dramatic match with Greece. A goal a minute before half-time by Greek captain Giorgos Karagounis proved decisive in the match.
Going into Saturday’s games, Arshavin and Co were top of the group with four points from two games and a +3 goal difference. But defeat against Greece, together with the Czech Republic’s victory against Poland meant that Russia fail to progress.
After an even start, when both Russia and Greece had a couple of chances to score, Dick Advocaat's charges took control of the game, but failed to convert any of their opportunities.
The National Stadium in Warsaw was awash with the colors of the Russian flag, as more than 30,000 fans from all around the country outnumbered the 4,000-strong brigade of Greek supporters. The chant of “Русские вперед!” or “Let’s go Russians!” was heard almost continuously in the first half under the roof of the Warsaw arena. But Greek captain Giorgos Karagounis silenced the crowd late in the first half.
The Russians were made to pay for their earlier wastefulness as Karagounis struck to give his team a 1-0 halftime lead. The second half was goalless despite the never-ending Russian assault and as the ultimate group winners, the Czech Republic, proved stronger against co-hosts Poland, Russia slipped to third in Group A and thus out of the competition.
The win put the Greeks into the next round, where they could face Germany in a politically charged match that would bring the financial crisis onto the field at Euro 2012.
“We should have won by a wide margin tonight but we didn't. My compliments to Greece,” Russia coach Dick Advocaat said. “A number of players weren't sharp enough to score.”
“We did go forward, were very attacking. We played well, but you have to score goals,” Advocaat, for whom it was the last game in charge of the Russian national team, sighed. “We did that in first game and despite all the possession today we didn't do that today.”