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Portugal edges Denmark in Euro 2012 thriller

LVIV/WARSAW, JUN 13 (Agencies)
Published on 14 Jun. 2012 12:17 AM IST
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Substitute Silvestre Varela hit an 87th-minute winner to give Portugal a 3-2 win over Denmark in their Euro 2012 Group B encounter in Lviv on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Porto winger hit low into the corner to snatch Portugal’s first points of the campaign after their 1-0 defeat to Germany.

In doing so he spared Cristiano Ronaldo’s blushes after the Real Madrid forward squandered two one-on-one chances in a low-confidence display.

Nicklas Bendtner thought he had sealed a point for his team to build on their shock 1-0 defeat of the Netherlands last week with a header ten minutes from time.

Real Madrid center-back Pepe had put the Portuguese in front on 25 minutes with a glancing header at the near post from Joao Moutinho’s corner.

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Helder Postiga broke a goal drought stretching back to November to put Portugal two up nine minutes later.

The 29-year-old stole a march on defender Simon Kjaer to lash a Nani cross into the top corner from ten yards out.

The Danes pulled one back through Bendtner on 41 minutes, the Sunderland striker nodding into an empty net after Michael Krohn-Dehli headed across goal to find the former Arsenal man totally unmarked.Germany face the Netherlands later Wednesday.

Poland hold Russia to stay in Euro hunt
Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland kept their chances of a quarter-finals berth alive on Tuesday after drawing 1-1 with Russia, putting on ice their opponents’ hopes of clinching the first slot in the knock-out phase.

The Poles, needing to take at least a point from the Group A match in the wake of their 1-1 tournament opener against Greece on Friday, were keenly aware of Russia’s high-octane 4-1 performance against the Czech Republic the same night.

A goal by Alan Dzagoev in the first-half - his third of the tournament - was cancelled out in spectacular fashion in the second-half by Polish captain Kuba Blaszczykowski.

Dutch coach Dick Advocaat praised Poland for their performance but added he was happy with the point.
“Poland played very well tonight being under the risk of losing the chance to win a place in the last eight if they lost,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we allowed them to create too many chances in attack.
“That means we still need to strengthen our defence.

We also played well and scored before the break and had many chances in the second but we missed them all. In general, I’d say the draw is a good result for us,” said the 64-year-old Dutchman.

Russian captain Andrei Arshavin said that while the point was welcome they only had themselves to blame for allowing the Poles back into the game.

“We started well and took the lead but after the break we played too loosely allowing Poland to reply on dangerous counter-attacks,” he said.

Poland coach Franciszek Smuda was happy with the result but above all with the way his players had stuck to their gameplan - he won’t be so happy with the angry manner in which Ludovic Obraniak shrugged him aside on being taken off in the final minute.

“We are a young side, and we are going to get ever better.
“I am above all happy with the players because they played to the gameplan from the first to last minute.”

In what may be the most politically-charged fixture of the tournament, Poland looked the hungrier team in the first half, launching a series of convincing attacks on the Russian goal.

Hard work appeared to have paid off when Eugen Polanski moved onto a through ball from lone striker Robert Lewandowski and fired past Vyacheslav Malafeev.

But fans and the Polish bench swung from ecstasy to misery when his 18th-minute shot was ruled offside.

A resurgent Russia picked up the pace, with Arshavin crossing in the 25th minute to Aleksandr Kerzhakov, only for him to miss the target.

Polish keeper Przeymslaw Tyton - whose penalty-saving heroics after he came on as a substitute for red-carded first choice Wojciech Szczesny helped avoid a Polish defeat to Greece - saved a free kick from Arshavin a minute later.

Russia’s efforts bore fruit in the 37th minute when rising star Dzagoev, who notched a double against the Czechs, latched onto an inswinging Arshavin free kick to open the scoring.

The Poles appeared tired, but battled hard, and finally equalised in the 57th minute when Blaszczykowski picked up a cross from Obraniak and fired home a left-footed piledriver.

There were nervous moments for both sides in the remainder of the half, with the noise levels rising in Warsaw’s brand-new National Stadium.

Racism mars Euro 2012
Euro 2012 football tournament was marred by racism even before the opening match kicked off.
Video footages of racist and violent incidents at recent club matches in Ukraine, including tournament host city Kharkiv, surfaced in the media added more fodder to the fire.

Even when the European football governing body UEFA vowed to crack down on racism at the championships, players continued to face abuses from racist fans.

Dutch players were subjected to monkey chants in an open training session in Krakow, Poland. Italy forward Mario Balotelli, meanwhile, was reportedly the subject of racist abuse during his side`s 1-1 draw against the current European and world champions Spain.

Czech full-back Theodor Gebre Selassie claimed he had “noticed” some racist chanting aimed towards him during their 4-1 loss against Russia. Following the official complaint, UEFA has started further investigations.

Over 180 arrested in clashes: Police
More than 180 people have been arrested over clashes involving Polish and Russian football fans, Warsaw police said Wednesday. Violence flared during a march through the city by Russian fans ahead of the Euro 2012 match between the two nations at Warsaw’s National Stadium.

 Around 7,000 Russians took part in the march to celebrate their country’s national holiday, Polish ambassador to Russia Wojciech Zajaczkowski said Wednesday.

The trouble was started by Polish hooligans, Zajaczjowski said. “During the march incidents took place that were provoked by Polish pseudo-fans,” he said.

“The police reacted decisively and professionally.”
Of the 184 arrested, 156 are Polish and 25 Russians, Warsaw police said in a website statement. One Spanish national, one Hungarian and one Algerian were also held in connection with the disturbances.

Ten people were injured, including seven Poles, two Russians and a German. Of those, seven Poles and one Russian were kept in hospital overnight, regional governor Jacek Kozlowski said.
A further 150 people were treated for minor injuries, he said.

The Russians were marching to celebrate Russia Day, a national holiday which commemorates the end of the Soviet Union.

Police fired warning shots during the march when Polish fans hurled bottles, stones and flares at them, and the police also deployed a water cannon.

Incidents at the march led to 56 arrests, the police said, before trouble spread to nearby streets, where the rest of the arrests were made.

At the match, Russian supporters unfurled a huge banner with the slogan “This is Russia” depicting Dmitry Pozharsky, a knight who defeated an invading Polish force in 1612.

The scuffles follow trouble Friday when some Russian fans assaulted Polish stewards after Russia’s 4-1 win over the Czech Republic in Wroclaw.

There was widespread anger in the Polish media after that match because some Russians displayed Soviet flags, seen by many in Poland as a symbol of foreign occupation.

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