Despite not being a traditional power, the Czech Republic entered the 2012 UEFA European Championships as a dark horse to advance from a relatively weak Group A. The Eastern European nation was drawn into a group with Russia, Greece, and host-nation Poland.
Things got off to a tough start with a loss to a seemingly resurgent Russia. A 4-1 thrashing made it look as though the Czech Republic could have a tough tournament. However, the Czechs’ schedule was front-loaded and they impressed in each successive game.
Two early goals against Greece proved to be enough, and the Czech Republic held on for a 2-1 win that gave it a fighting shot at advancing.
The final group game against host Poland was highly competitive. Both nations had a chance to advance entering the day, and the hosts weren’t going down without a fight. However, the Czechs squeezed out another one-goal win, shutting out Poland and sending them packing.
In the quarterfinals, the Czechs were handed a difficult draw against powerhouse Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Czechs got off to a blistering start, but badly faded and were eventually victimized by a Ronaldo goal in a 1-0 loss.
Overall, the Czechs have much to be proud of in their run. Reaching the quarterfinals will be considered an excellent tournament for both the players and fans, some of whom were some of the prettiest at Euro 2012. You can also enjoy pictures of other countries’ fans in our round-up of Euro 2012 fan photo galleries.