Czech Republic, Greece advance to Euro quarterfinals

Petr Jiracek scored a second-half winner to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 victory over Poland and a place in the quarterfinals of the European Championship on Saturday at Wroclaw, Poland.

Poland, the tournament co-host, was knocked out with its defeat in the team’s final Group A game.

The Czechs finished top of the group and will now play the runners-up in Group B.

Pushing forward in the 72nd minute, Jiracek collected a pass from Milan Baros in the box, cut right to clear past Poland’s Marcin Wasilewski and slotted the ball inside the far post.

Poland, which had to win to advance to the quarterfinals, immediately brought on two attacking players in the last 30 minutes to push for a goal but couldn’t punch through the Czech defense.

After the final whistle, the Czech players swarmed around each other on the pitch. The Poles fell to the ground, covering their faces.

The Czechs pulled off the win despite playing without their captain and playmaker Tomas Rosicky, who was sidelined with an Achilles’ tendon injury.

At Warsaw, meanwhile, Giorgos Karagounis put Greece into the quarterfinals, scoring just before halftime to give the 2004 European champions a 1-0 victory over Russia that eliminated the Russians.

Karagounis, in his record-tying 120th international appearance, sent a low shot under Russia goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev with the final touch of the first half. The Greeks then did what they do best: defend.

Russia had been the overwhelming favorite going into the match at the National Stadium, but it was again guilty of squandering chances.

UEFA laid its first formal charges of racism at the European Championship on Saturday, opening a case against the Croatian football association after receiving reports that fans made monkey chants at Italy forward Mario Balotelli.

Croatia is charged with “improper conduct” of supporters, including “racist chants, racist symbols” at a game in Poznan, Poland, on Thursday, UEFA said in a statement.

UEFA received reports from anti-discrimination monitors working with Football Against Racism in Europe, who wrote that Croatia fans made monkey noises and displayed far-right nationalist flags.

Balotelli, who is black, started the game for Italy against Croatia, and was replaced in the second half of the 1-1 draw.

Abby Wambach’s 136th career goal for the U.S. women’s team led the Americans past Sweden 3-1 in a tuneup for the London Olympics at Halmstad, Sweden.

Wambach connected just eight minutes in, then Alex Morgan scored in the 22nd. Sweden’s Lotta Schelin scored in the 35th minute, and U.S. substitute Tobin Heath sealed the game with a header 11 minutes into the second half.

Wambach’s goal came off a punt from goalkeeper Hope Solo. Heather O’Reilly won the ball in the air, nodding it to Wambach. She turned on a defender and her half-volley from 35 yards caught keeper Hedvig Lindahl out of her goal.


Top U.S. cyclists bowed out of Olympic consideration

Four top U.S. cyclists — all former teammates of Lance Armstrong — removed their names from consideration for spots on the Olympic team.

Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie asked that they be taken out of the running for places on the road cycling team for the London Games, USA Cycling announced in a brief statement Saturday.

“USA Cycling will not speculate on the reasoning behind their requests and will not have further comment,” the statement said. “Any questions related to their decision should be directed to the individual athletes.”

Leipheimer is currently third overall at the Tour of Switzerland, which concludes Sunday, and was not available for comment. Hincapie is preparing for the Tour de France and was unavailable, while a spokesperson for Garmin-Barracuda — Vande Velde and Zabriskie’s professional team — did not respond to a request for comment.

All four riders spent time on the U.S. Postal team with Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion who is facing fresh doping allegations by theU.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

USADA has also accused Armstrong’s former team manager, Johan Bruyneel, and other associates involved in a longstanding doping conspiracy that supplied the champion cyclist’s teams. Armstrong and Bruyneel have both denied the allegations.

Ryan Hunter-Reay found his way back to victory lane at the Milwaukee Mile, holding off Tony Kanaan in the IndyCar race at West Allis, Wis.

It was the sixth career victory and first this season for Hunter-Reay, who brought home a victory for the man who brought the historic but financially troubled Milwaukee track back to IndyCar — car owner Michael Andretti, who served as the race promoter.

Hunter-Reay won the 2004 race at the track in the now-defunct Champ Car Series.

Kanaan was second, followed by James Hinchcliffe, Oriol Servia and E.J. Viso.

Roger Federer will face wild card Tommy Haas of Germany in a bid to win the Gerry Weber Open at Halle, Germany, for a record sixth time on Sunday.

The 87th-ranked Haas defeated defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-6 (5), 7-5. Federer eased past Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, 6-1, 6-4.

David Nalbandian of Argentina defeated Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the Queen’s Club final in London, where he will face Marin Cilic of Croatia.

Cilic beat American Sam Querrey, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Zheng Jie of China overcame the rain and an intensive schedule to beat Roberta Vinci, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, and reach the semifinals of the Aegon Classic at Birmingham, England.

Rain forced a delay in the second quarterfinal, between Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Misaki Doi of Japan.