Euro 2012 - Stubborn England hold France

Mon, 11 Jun 23:37:00 2012

England opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 Group D draw against France at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

2012 France-England Nasri Gerrard Milner - 0

Manchester City team-mates Joleon Lescott and Samir Nasri traded first-half goals, and though his team were outplayed for long periods, England boss Roy Hodgson will be happy to take a point against the group favourites.

Sporting a 4-4-1-1 formation with nine men behind the ball for much of the game, England were limited in attack, but defended well despite surrendering their lead nine minutes after Lescott's 30th-minute header.

The technically-superior French struggled to turn their possession into clear goalscoring opportunities, and must find more cutting edge if they are to be considered serious contenders for the tournament.

Amazingly, France have still not won a European Championship match in which neither Michel Platini nor Zinedine Zidane was playing.

Hodgson opted for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left side of midfield - yet the decision to select a player with just six Premier League starts to his name was both popular and logical.

Oxlade-Chamberlain provides a bold directness Stewart Downing singularly lacks, and showed his intent to run at France with some early forays.

However, the game started slowly at a less-than-full Donbass Arena populated largely by Russian fans.

Amid a limp atmosphere, both teams showed excessive caution until Ashley Young carved out a golden chance for James Milner on the quarter-hour mark.

Young played a perfectly-weighted through ball for the sprinting Milner, who took the ball past Hugo Lloris but could not find the empty net from the left side of the box. A poor miss.

France bucked up after that, dominating possession and keeping the ball far better than their opponents, with Nasri and Yohan Cabaye particularly influential.

England opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 Group D draw against France at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. - 2 However, it was England who took the lead when Lescott met a peach of a free-kick from Steven Gerrard with a powerful header that game Lloris no chance - the goalkeeper possibly at fault for not claiming the ball at the edge of the six-yard box.

Back came Laurent Blanc's men, and five minutes later Alou Diarra stung the hands of Joe Hart with a powerful header of his own, before nodding side seconds later.

England were not off the hook for long, and on 39 minutes Nasri levelled, drilling a low shot into the near side of Hart's goal from just outside the box.

The midfielder celebrated his goal by aiming a 'shh' gesture at the English bench - a possible reaction to comments from Gary Neville describing Nasri as "a cancer" at Arsenal, shortly before his move to City.

England opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 Group D draw against France at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. - 3 England backed off, with the tepid noise around the ground mirroring the poor fare on the pitch.

The biggest danger to England was arguably Milner, who gave the ball away several times in the second period, but France came no closer than when Karim Benzema struck a long shot at Hart, and Cabaye had a powerful strike deflected wide.

Scott Parker came off late on, clearly exhausted and lacking full match fitness after recovering from an Achilles injury.

Benzema tested Hart with another effort from distance in the last minute, but there was no way through.

Hodgson's England might be the most limited squad ever to reach a major tournament, but their fight and organisation may yet take them into the knockout stages.

England opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a hard-fought 1-1 Group D draw against France at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. - 4

Alex Chick - @alexchick81 / Eurosport

Comment 538 - 558 of 558

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  1. Congratulations England it was a job well done.The­ French(sticks in throat)are a good team with a great­ football record.They would if truth be known have­ welcomed the draw against the English. Steve Gerrard­ when questioned about the Ref' after the game would­ not comment,others have,in his attempt to keep the game­ flowing he allowed the French to kick us off the­ park.He turned a blind eye to blatant fouls.Frank­ Ribery should have been off for his persistent fouling­ tactics that were ment to get up the noses of the­ opposing team,his ploy failed.

    From Sharpe., on Thu 14 Jun 11:00
  2. England were better than i expected and played as a­ team,they lacked the French skill but made up for it by­ effort,it did not help England as the referee seemed to­ wear a French shirt.

    From peter, on Tue 12 Jun 19:23
  3. England will not beat Sweden or Ukraine. When they go­ out of Euro 12 the National Team should be dissolved as­ being hopeless. That would nullify all future­ embarrassments and disappointments

    From , on Tue 12 Jun 19:20
  4. looking at the statistics the goalkeeper saved them­ from a really bad defeat

    From Taliesin Halliday, on Tue 12 Jun 19:07
  5. Keep the comments positive people, it's the only­ way we will change the press. We all know by now that­ we aren't the best but last night the team fought­ hard for that result and that is what you need when­ your team is carrying so many injuries and your world­ class striker is banned. Last night was first night­ nerves so lets look forward to Friday and Sweden eh!­ C'mon England

    From M, on Tue 12 Jun 19:01
  6. Was that Stevie rolling his studs over Ribery's­ legs, well done lad, he commited foul upon foul last­ night.. A dirty player..

    From whocaresanyway, on Tue 12 Jun 18:10
  7. ENGLAND should be differen't side once ROONEY is­ back as YOUNG & WELBACK are not good­ enough....................ROONEY playing up front on­ his own should be more a danger than those two together­ which means an extra man in midflied would make ENGLAND­ rather strong but BOREING!!

    From Leo, on Tue 12 Jun 15:57
  8. It would have help if TERRY was playing instead of­ watching he never made ONE tackle all through the game­ he was afraid to keep the ball when he did get it i­ believe he thought it was a bomb not a football good­ job we had a midfield working (THATS WHY THEY WERE­ KNACKERED AT THE END) they were doing his job aswell

    From R,V,P, on Tue 12 Jun 15:33
  9. The problem will be scoring goals.Young and Welbeck are­ isolated in this system.The midfield players have so­ much work to do that they cannot join the front­ players.Rooney will help because he is world class.Roy­ will be thinking whether he can play Welbeck and Rooney­ up front with Young on the wing.However he knows this­ will weaken the midfield.At this moment nobody can­ argue that he has got results.We will soon find out­ whether he will attack a bit more with Young on the­ wing.Do it and risk us being talen apart by superior­ players or keep the system as it is and hopefully like­ Chelsea did in Europe go for glory with pragmatism

    From Harry, on Tue 12 Jun 15:22
  10. wayne was missing from last nights game

    From JACQUELINE AVERY, on Tue 12 Jun 15:08
  11. Lets just get behind our lads and not against­ them...............come on ENGLAND

    From Darrell, on Tue 12 Jun 15:08
  12. Well done yahoo once again. The stadium was mostly full­ of Russians? Why would Russians be watching England and­ France in Ukraine? That is the same as saying wembly­ was mostly full of scots when France might be playing­ Denmark. For your information, Donetsk is in Ukraine so­ perhaps it's mostly full of Ukrainians who may be­ speaking Russian! Does that make them Russians? USA,­ Canada, Australia are full of English, right? Get your­ geography right!

    From Terry, on Tue 12 Jun 15:02
  13. What an absolute disgrace on behalf of the Sun,­ projecting that message onto the Arc de Triomphe! ­ Imagine the outcry if the French had done the same to­ the Cenotaph!

    From B, on Tue 12 Jun 14:52
  14. Saying we gott batter because of the stats. Well 15­ shots on target 1 goal where as England 1 shot on goal­ 1 goal. French had 61% of possesion and 11 Corners and­ only managed 1 goal. Enough said England played­ really well not even spain would of kept 15 shots out. ­ Chat all you want about England but bookies will be­ reducing the odds on england losing after yesturdays­ match !!

    From Matthew, on Tue 12 Jun 14:40
  15. Lescotts goal was not a lucky goal it was a well worked­ free kick and Milner missing was just nerves, but­ NASRI'S goal was just sheer luck. Lucky Hart cudnt­ get a look at it properly and lucky it never bounced­ off gerrard. if that would of happend by sheer luck­ ENGLAND would have won. I thought England would sit­ back and defend thier lead but they never they kept at­ it and only when Nasri scored did they look like­ defending what they had. Parker was too tired and left­ on the pitch way to long. Should have brought walcott­ on earlier maybe 60th min and brought parker off and­ put milner in his place. We was scared of France and­ played most of our game to stop them but in the first­ half when we played our football France looked shook­ and England honestly looked like scoring first. Good­ game anyway as France was favourites to beat us and­ with a team they had mabye they should of. England are­ stronger than most make out and we look stronger­ defending since Roy came. If England cant win­ attacking which has been tried then why not park the­ bus defend and attack on the break, if it wins us games­ who cares if it is boring. They are called TACTICS. ­ Keep it up England we wont be considered a joke team we­ will be considered a team that is UNDEFEATED and VERY­ DIFFICULT to SCORE against. I LIKE IT. UNDEFEATED­ since ROY so talk all you want about him he is proving­ everyone wrong ALREADY and we have only played 3­ matches. Said we would lose against France well we­ didnt and we wont lose against Sweeden or Ukraine. TBH­ the way Spain and Italy played we wont have much to­ worry about.

    From Matthew, on Tue 12 Jun 14:38
  16. Watching England play yesterday really made me sick.The­ french were all over the place.England need a play­ maker some who can carry the ball to the opponent or­ give decisive passes. Thanks to Hart and his brilliant­ saves, England didn't take another goal....

    From , on Tue 12 Jun 12:53
  17. If slagging off the team and manager was an­­ international sport, we'd win every tournament! So­­ many supporters criticising the players for lacking­­ passion/skill, yet expressing consistently negative­­ views! Fact: we DON'T have the best team. Stop­­ thinking we have a devine right to be the best and get­­ behind the lads to give it our best shot. If we had­ the­ passion of the Irish, we'd enjoy more­ success...or,­ at least, enjoy our national game more!

    From Barn, on Tue 12 Jun 12:41
  18. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    You only need to look at the statistics to see how­ woeful England really are if Hodgson is happy to take a­ point then that says all you need to know about his­ motivation and chances of success for the England side.­ They need to get a whole lot better and it sure­ does'nt look like they will anytime soon !!

    From Foxy, on Tue 12 Jun 12:16
  19. if this was Francs i wikk not watch them again. Iff it­ moves kick it cabaye should have been sent off along­ with the ref

    From nosieblue, on Tue 12 Jun 11:32
  20. great result for us considering we played without our­ best player rooney. we'd be more fluid in attack­ once rooney comes back from suspension.

    From Josh Davis, on Tue 12 Jun 11:13
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