WARSAW, Poland — Even though Poland was the better team, it was Greece that had the better chance to win.
The Poles controlled play for long stretches Friday but still had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Greece in the opening match of the European Championship.
Both teams finished with 10 men, but Greece missed its chance for victory in Group A when substitute goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton saved a penalty from Giorgos Karagounis with his first touch of the match.
“We’re not happy because in the end we could have won it,” said Dimitris Salpigidis, who scored for Greece and won the penalty. “We were left with 10 men but we came back strong.”
Shortly after Salpigidis had equalized by knocking in a loose ball in the 51st minute, the diminutive striker was taken down by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the area.
Szczesny was given a red card, and Karagounis was given the chance to again earn Greece an opening match win against the host nation at a European Championship. Eight years ago, Karagounis scored in the opening 2-1 win over Euro 2004 host Portugal.
But it didn’t happen this time.
RUSSIA 4, CZECH REPUBLIC 1
In Wroclaw, Poland, Alan Dzagoev scored a goal in each half in Russia’s masterful display of attacking soccer to beat the Czech Republic in their European Championship Group A opener.
Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov gave Russia a 2-0 halftime lead before Vaclav Pilar in the 52nd minute gae the Czechs brief hopesof a comeback.
Dzagoev replied with his second in the 80th minute, and substitute Roman Pavlyuchenko added a fourth in the 82nd.