Posted: Tuesday June 12, 2012 2:06PM ; Updated: Tuesday June 12, 2012 2:13PM

Czech Republic strikes early, beats Greece 2-1 in Group A at Euro 2012

Story Highlights

Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar both scored in the first six minutes vs. Greece

After taking an early lead, the Czech Republic held on to claim a 2-1 victory

Substitute Fanis Gekas scored the only goal for Greece during the 53rd minute

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Vaclav Pilar (14) celebrates after scoring in the sixth minute of the Czech Republic's 2-1 win over Greece.
Vaclav Pilar (14) celebrates after scoring in the sixth minute of the Czech Republic's 2-1 win over Greece.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Greece
Greece1
Czech Rep.
Czech Republic2
Final :: Wroclaw, Poland
Gekas 53'
Jicarek 3'
Pilar 6'

WROCLAW, Poland (AP) -- Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar scored in the first six minutes to give the Czech Republic a 2-1 win over Greece on Tuesday at the European Championship.

Jiracek shot the ball past Greece goalkeeper Costas Chalkias in the third minute after a pass from Tomas Hubschmann sliced through the Greek defense. Three minutes later, Pilar scored his second goal of the tournament, beating Greek defenders to a ball sent across the goal by Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie.

Substitute Fanis Gekas pulled one back for Greece in 53rd minute with a tap in after Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech spilled the ball and bumped into defender Tomas Sivok.

The Greeks, who played the Group A match without two key central defenders, nearly scored another in the 41st, but the header from Giorgos Fotakis was called back for offside.

The Greeks recovered well after their disastrous start, but lost another player when Chalkias limped off the field in the 23rd minute. He was replaced by Michalis Sifakis.

Despite the defensive problems, Greece coach Fernando Santos stuck with his attacking lineup of three forwards. The strategy helped the Greeks dominate the second half.

Czech Republic captain Tomas Rosicky came off with a foot injury in the second half.

The Czech fans booed coach Michal Bilek at the start of the match, but the team rebounded from its opening 4-1 loss to Russia in Group A. The Czechs also avenged their semifinal loss to Greece at Euro 2004.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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