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Euro 2012: Recapping Day One and Moving On to Matchday Two


The opening day of Euro 2012 produced some terrific moments, and given what's on tap today, it's fair to expect another captivating day. We'll take a brief look back at how the first round of action in Group A panned out, and then move along to a brief look at the action taking place in the Ukraine in the most challenging group of the tournament.

Poland 1, Greece 1
POL: Lewandowski 17'
GRE: Salpingidis 53'

It was a perfect start for Poland, who dominated the early going and took the lead inside twenty minutes. As expected, it was the Borussia Dortmund pair who had the biggest influence, with Jakub Błaszczykowski delivering an inch-perfect cross to Robert Lewandowski in front of goal. The eventual man of the match nodded home easily past Kostas Chalkias, who stranded himself and left Lewandowski unchallenged to get the opener. Referee Carlos Carballo took most of the first half highlights from there, sending off Sokratis Papastathopoulos after two criminally soft bookings. Carballo and Poland gradually faded in their impact, however, and 10-man Greece took advantage of the spark provided by substitute Dimitris Salpingidis, who scored the leveler less than ten minutes after the break. Greece very well could have won it with twenty minutes to play, as Salpingidis controlled brilliantly in the penalty area and won a penalty, getting Wojciech Szczęsny sent off in the process. But substitute goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń made himself the hero immediately after replacing Szczęsny, diving left to save Giorgos Karagounis' tame penalty and a point for a Poland side that disappointed after starting so brightly.

Russia 4, Czech Republic 1
RUS: Dzagoev 15' 79', Shirokov 24', Pavlyuchenko 82'
CZE: Pilař 52'

On ten minutes there's no way anyone could have predicted this scoreline, with Russia starting lethargically and the Czechs doing most of the pressuring. The Russians woke up on fifteen minutes, however, with Alan Dzagoev lashing home a rebound from twelve yards and continuing on to dominate the rest of the first half. Roman Shirokov put Dick Advocaat's side up two heading into halftime with a neat chip over Petr Čech, and while the Czechs scraped one back just after the restart, Russia eased to victory as Dzagoev got his second and substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko blasted past Čech with the goal of the day. It was an impressive performance from Russia, and even moreso from Andrei Arshavin, who'd cut a disinterested figure at Arsenal for half of the season but was inspirational in leading his side to victory.

The opening day always holds top billing, and thankfully it delivered on most counts despite lacking in quality at times. Most of the focus past the dog and pony show of the opening ceremonies has been on the so-called "Group of Death" in Group B, however, as it contains three of the more exciting sides in the tournament and one that's well-positioned to cause a major shake-up. As we mentioned yesterday, if there's a link or way to watch please let us know, especially as this isn't a day that you're going to want to look past.

Netherlands v. Denmark
5:00PM BST/12:00PM EST

Up until Sunday this one promised to be the only sure-fire chance to see two Liverpool players face off, but with Dirk Kuyt's departure we're left to focus on Daniel Agger, who's a cornerstone in Morten Olsen's Danish side. The quality in this Dutch side is well documented---Robin van Persie's coming off a Player of the Year season in the Premier League, Arjen Robben had a wonderful campaign with Bayern before it all went terribly wrong towards the end, and the supporting cast are seasoned enough to make a real challenge at winning the whole thing. It all leaves Denmark in a relatively comfortable spot, as they're not expected to progress with three other sides that are so packed with talent. Olsen's prepared the Danes well, though, and it wouldn't be too shocking if they managed a result.

Germany v. Portugal
7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST

Germany's the vogue pick to raise the trophy on July 1st in Kyiv, and a win over Portugal would certainly provide a boost along the way. Most of their expected eleven had successful seasons spread across the continent, with many of the Bayern Munich players that featured in the Champions League Final expected to start, and Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, both of whom featured regularly in the La Liga winning Real Madrid side, likely as well. The latter names' teammate will be the man to watch throughout the tournament for Portugal, and while they won't be favored tomorrow, there's plenty to suggest that they'll be more than able to give Germany a run for their money.

Hope you enjoy Matchday Two, and we'll plan on seeing you around here or over on Twitter to enjoy the action.

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