Saturday, June 16, 2012
For one day, the world turned upside down.
The order listed above is how they were ranked by the odds makers. In the first two matches, Russia crushed the Czechs 4-1 and the Poles and Greeks tied 1-1. In the second pair of games, the Czechs got some of their pride back beating the Greeks 2-1 while the Poles got a second 1-1 draw in as many games, tying the hated Russians.
In the final matches in this group, the Poles had to win at home to advance, and it was expected the Russians would probably beat the Greeks and at the very worst get a draw. Instead, the Czechs beat the Poles 1-0 to win the group outright after their horrible drubbing at the hands of the Russians to open the tournament, and the Greeks scored a single goal and held on like grim death to beat the Russians and send them packing. (In the World Cup, two team ties are won by the team scoring the most goals advances. In Euro, it's the team that wins head to head. Bad luck for the Russians.)
So the Czechs and the Greeks are the first teams to get seeded into the knockout round. If things go according to form, the Greeks will face Germany in the quarterfinals, not a traditional rivalry but the most political bad blood possible in 2012 based on the 24 hour news cycle. Still, this depends on the Germans getting past the Danes and could be complicated if Portugal smacks around the so far luckless Dutch.
I know I'm going to find some friendly local to see what happens.