Petr Jiracek scored the only goal of the game 18 minutes from time as the Czechs joined Greece, the 2004 champions, in the quarter-finals. Few would have predicted such an outcome before the group games began and even fewer who saw the first halves here and in Warsaw.
Poland were totally dominant in the opening period but seemed to have left it all on the pitch in that first 45 minutes and they were second best after the restart. But it was a mistake that cost them as Rafal Murawski tried to drive forward from midfield and lost the ball with little cover behind him.
It means Poland have never reached the knock-out stages of the Euros while the Czech Republic did so for the third time in five editions.
Given the hosts' absolute need to win it was no surprise they set a manic tempo from the off and the first half hour must have made uncomfortable viewing for the visiting Czech fans.
Twice in the opening minutes the home fans let out a brief cheer but Dariusz Dudka's overhead bicycle kick and Ludovic Obraniak's free-kick both hit the side-netting rather than the back one. Robert Lewandowski came close to scoring in the first half but blasted just wide of the post.
Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek teamed up on the right flank to support their Borussia Dortmund club teammate Lewandowski but the Bundesliga trio failed yet again as Poland crash out of the competition without registering a single win.
The Czechs did have one sniff themselves but Vaclav Pilar swiped at thin air from 12 yards from Theodor Gebre Selassie's cross.