Three thoughts: The Czech Republic exploits Greece defense in 2-1 win
The relatively inexperienced Giannis Maniatis (Olympiacos) was not able to shield the back four effectively. As a result, Czech midfielder Tomas Hübschman was able to thread an exquisite pass through the middle of the defense to Petr Jiracek, who left Jose Holebas (Olympiacos) -- another novice at this level -- completely in his wake to score.
Holebas was dragged out of position for the second goal just three minutes later, when Theodor Gebre Selassie broke free on the right. Kostas Fortounis failed to recover in time, and Vaclav Pilar bundled the ball despite the close attention of the two Greek center backs. Despite scoring early in the second half, The 2004 Euro winners couldn't recover from such a crushing double blow early in the game.
On the opposite side, however, the Czechs also failed to capitalize on the space that was available. The 46th minute substitution of captain and talisman Tomas Rosicky left behind a huge creative void, and the Arsenal man's replacement, Daniel Kolar (Plzen), failed to control the game. Coach Michal Bilek must hope that Rosicky, who struggled with a thigh injury just days before the competition, will be available for the deciding match against Poland on Saturday. It's difficult to foresee this team going places without the veteran midfielder. The same goes for Greece. Qualification to the knockout stages is still possible, but its lack of guile in the center -- coupled with defensive issues -- will likely cause its undoing sooner or later.