Tomas Rosicky and the Czech Republic did all their scoring early, and then fouled their way to victory over Greece. (Anja Niedringhaus/AP)

A pair of goals in the opening six minutes gave the Czechs all the offense they would need in a 2-1 victory against Greece.

The defense that was ravaged by Russia’s relentless attack in a 4-1 drubbing Friday held up against the Greeks to put the Czech Republic right back into the hunt in Group A. Greece, meanwhile, faces a must-win situation in its final group game against Russia on June 16.

Petr Jiracek slotted home the opening goal in the third minute in as the Czech wasted no time before taking their first lead of the tournament. Tomas Hubschman slid a perfectly-timed through ball ahead of Jiracek’s stride and the 26-year-old midfielder flicked it over the arm of a charging Kosta Chalkias.

Petr Jiracek’s third-minute goal set the tone for the Czechs. (DOMINIC EBENBICHLER/REUTERS)

And after taking the lead, the Czech’s resorted to hacking to preserve it. Their 26 fouls (only three of which drew yellow cards) were the most fouls by any team in a single game so far in the tournament.

Greece got one back in the 53rd minute when Petr Cech botched an easy pick up in the box, leaving Theofanis Gekas wide open to cut the deficit in half. But the Greeks never managed an equalizer.


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