Sometimes a match can be changed by a single moment of brilliance. As the teams approached the halftime break, ready to go in even at zero that moment occurred. Greece answered the call in first half added time when Giorgos Karagounis took advantage of a misplayed header by Russian defender Sergei Ignashevic. The Greek captain pounced on the loose ball and tore through the Russian penalty area before firing a shot low to Vyacheslav Malafeev's right. The Russian keeper was unable to get down to the low shot and suddenly the game had been turned on its head.
Russia had been wasteful with their first half opportunities, a trend that had continued from their first two matches. Alexsandr Kerzhakov's wasteful shooting attempts seems to have been contagious through the Russian squad, with in form teammate Alan Dzagoev flubbing several prime chances. The trend continued following Kerzhakov's departure for Roman Pavlyuchenko at the halftime interval. Russia who had looked so dangerous in their opening fixture lacked composure in front of goal.
Greece nearly found themselves a little cushion in the 61st minute when Karagounis was taken down in the box by Ignashevic. Despite there being clear contact made, the referee's angle did not allow him to view it, and Karagounis was booked for simulation. The Greek captain leaped to his feet and crossed himself, swearing that he had not embellished the act, but his pleas went unanswered. Despite Greece advancing to the quarterfinals, they will be without their captain.
Another opportunity for Greece came when Yuri Zhirkov hauled down Dimitri Salpingidis. Giorgios Tzavellas' free kick was well struck, but it hit the crossbar and bounced clear, another opportunity denied. Dick Advocaat desperately searched for the solution to his side's finishing problems, introducing Pavel Pogrebnyak and Marat Izmailov, but the answer was never found and Russia was doomed to their fate.
Losing this match, eliminated Russia from the competition. Despite playing some of the most beautiful football displayed in Euro 2012 and being viewed by many as the cream of Group A, the wasteful finishing they had also displayed had betrayed them. Russia only had two of their 31 shots find the target. Greece on the other hand had been opportunistic and their courageous display brought joy to the beleaguered nation. Greece will now face the winner of Group B in the quarterfinal.