Knowing his team needed a goal
against Poland to make it to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, Czech
coach Michal Bilek gave his young team some simple advice at
half-time - be patient.
Petr Jiracek struck with 18 minutes left to secure a 1-0
victory over deflated co-hosts Poland in Wroclaw, putting the
Czechs through to the last eight as Group A winners.
"We started improving at the end of the first half but
during the break I told the players to be patient and to be
careful at the back," Bilek told a news conference.
"We were patient and we were able to counter attack because
they opened the defence."
Jiracek collected a pass from Milan Baros and cut inside a
defender before slotting past keeper Przemyslaw Tyton for his
second goal of the tournament.
The Czechs advance with Greece, who upset Russia 1-0 in
Warsaw, and will play the runners-up of Group B in the last
Bilek hailed the performance from a Czech team missing
injured captain Tomas Rosicky, who was not able to run on a sore
Achilles in a pre-match fitness test.
Daniel Kolar led the Czech attack in Rosicky's place but
much of the damage at Wroclaw's Municipal stadium was done by
Vaclav Pilar, whose trickery and pace on the wing gave the
Polish defence headaches all night.
"Rosicky tried it before the match and he couldn't start so
it is difficult to say if we will have him for the next match,"
Bilek said. "We are aware he is irreplaceable but Kolar played a
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