Ukraine 0 England 1

The Ukrain­i­ans came in­to this group sta­ge fix­ture on the back of an em­bar­rass­ing 2-0 de­feat ag­ainst Fran­ce at the Don­bass Arena where Jeremy Me­nez and Yo­han Cabaye fou­nd the net for Les Bleus, where­as Eng­land were on a high af­ter edging out Er­ik Hamren´s Swe­den by a 3-2 mar­gin at the Olympic Sta­dium thanks to a goal each from Andy Car­roll, Theo Wal­cott, and Dan­ny Wel­beck, whi­le the Swedes had their goals thro­ugh Olof Mell­berg and Glen John­son who sco­red an own goal. But even tho­ugh Roy Hodgson´s te­am star­ted the mat­ch ag­ainst Ukraine on the front foot, the white shirts failed to cap­it­al­ise on their scor­ing chances dur­ing the open­ing skir­mishes of the en­counter. Man­chester Uni­ted goal plun­der­er Way­ne Roo­ney, who ap­peared in his fir­st mat­ch of the 2012 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship in Po­land and Ukraine fol­low­ing a two-ga­me ban, should have put his coun­try ahead in the 28th min­ute of the clash when the prod­ig­al son met a bril­liantly de­livered cross from fel­low Old Traf­ford team­mate Ash­ley Young, but the stri­ker could on­ly head wide of the up­right. The Yel­low Blue gradu­ally made their pres­ence felt and the hosts dom­in­ated the pos­ses­sion of the ball for the re­mainder of the fir­st ha­lf, but The Three Li­ons came back a lot strong­er af­ter the re­sump­tion of play.

A few min­utes in­to the sec­ond ha­lf, Eng­land fi­nally took the lead when a cross from Ste­ven Ger­rard fou­nd Roo­ney who head­ed the ball in­to the back of the net from just a yard out. Whatever his fail­ures in the 2010 So­uth Africa Wor­ld Cup, here was ad­equate proof of his abil­ity to be at the ex­act right place at the ex­act right time. There was dra­ma to fol­low on 62 min­utes, tho­ugh, as Oleh Volodymyrovych Blokhin´s boys look­ed to have the ball in the net, but Slov­e­ni­an mat­ch of­fi­cial Damir Sko­m­ina failed to spot it and play was al­lowed to carry on. The con­tro­versy that ac­com­pan­ied the de­cision, how­ever, did not over­shad­ow an Eng­land per­form­ance which was bo­th con­vin­cing and ef­fect­ive. The flow of the en­ergy con­sum­ing clash con­tin­ued to bounce back and forth wi­th the two te­ams hav­ing plenty of op­por­tun­it­ies to score, but at the end of the day the ho­me play­ers were simply run­ning out of gas. Af­ter de­feat­ing co-hosts Ukraine in front of over 50,000 people at the Don­bass Arena in Don­etsk, Eng­land would now face Italy at the Olympic Sta­dium in Kiev in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Quart­er Fi­nals. Ukraine Te­am: An­drey Py­atov, Yaroslav Rakyt­skyy, Yevhen Khacheridi, Ev­gen Selin, Denys Garmash, Oleg Husyev, Yevhen Konoply­anka, An­driy Yar­molen­ko, Marko Devic, Anatoliy Ty­moshchuk, Artem Milevskyi. Sub­stitutes: Vy­acheslas Shevchuk, Oleksandr Kuch­er, Bo­hdan Butko, Ol­ex­an­dr Ali­yev, Taras Mykhalyk, Ser­hiy Naz­ar­en­ko, Ruslan Rotan, Yev­gen Seleznyov, Oleksandr Horyain­ov, An­drej Voron­in, An­driy Shevchen­ko, Mak­sym Kov­al. Eng­land Te­am: Joe Hart, Glen John­son, Jo­leon Le­scott, John Terry, Ash­ley Cole, Ste­ven Ger­rard, Ash­ley Young, Ja­mes Mil­ner, Scott Par­ker, Dan­ny Wel­beck, Way­ne Roo­ney. Sub­stitutes: Mar­tin Kel­ly, Phil Jones, Stew­art Down­ing, Phil Ja­gielka, Al­ex­an­der Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain, Jor­dan Hen­derson, Jer­main De­foe, Leigh­ton Baines, Theo Wal­cott, Andy Car­roll, Jack But­land, Ro­bert Green.


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