Ruthless Russians thrash Czechs

Russia turned in a vibrant display on Friday, thrashing the Czech Republic 4-1 to take early command in Group A after hosts Poland had been held to a 1-1 draw by Greece.

Alan Dzagoev gave the Russians the lead on 15 minutes, blasting in from the edge of the box after Aleksandr Kerzhakov saw a close-range header rebound off the post.

A neat finish from Roman Shirokov nine minutes later put the Russians firmly in the driving seat although the Czechs pulled one back seven minutes after the restart when Vaclav Pilar beat the offside trap, sidestepped the goalkeeper and slid the ball home following a through ball from Jaroslav Plasil.

But Dzagoev made it 3-1 in netting a fine right-footed strike after being played in by substitute and former Tottenham star Roman Pavlyuchenko, who promptly smacked in a magnificent fourth for the 2008 semi-finalists with eight minutes remaining.

Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech misses to stop the fourth Russian goal during the Euro 2012 football championships match Russia vs. Czech Republic, on June 8, 2012 at the Municipal stadium in Wroclaw.

WROCLAW, POLAND - JUNE 08: Roman Shirokov of Russia celebrates scoring their second goal during the UEFA EURO 2012 group A match between Russia and Czech Republic at The Municipal Stadium on June 8, ... more 
WROCLAW, POLAND - JUNE 08: Roman Shirokov of Russia celebrates scoring their second goal during the UEFA EURO 2012 group A match between Russia and Czech Republic at The Municipal Stadium on June 8, 2012 in Wroclaw, Poland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) less 
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Getty Images | Photo By Jamie McDonald / Getty Images
Sat, Jun 9, 2012 3:18 AM SGT
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