Monday June 11, 2012 Group Stage: Group D Finished Donbass Arena

France 1 - 1 England

  • Nasri 39’
  • Lescott 30’

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  1. Stubborn England hold France

    Stubborn England hold France

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

  • Live Commentary

    • France
    • England
    • 90+4' Well, that's that. England will certainly be the happier team. Unambitious, but it's mission accomplished. Next up in Group D - Ukraine v Sweden, kicking off at 19:45 UK time.
    • 90+3' Benzema!! Fires a skidding shot that bounces just in front of Hart, who makes a less-than-convincing save. But it's good enough.
    • 90+3' Into the final minute of stoppage time, France in possession.
    • 90+2' Oh dear. Walcott lays it off for Gerrard, who hurriedly bashes the ball out for a throw.
    • 90+1' Walcott comes on for Welbeck, who has worked hard without reward tonight.
    • 90' Gerrard delivers another corner from the right... Lescott meets it but his header is blocked.
    • 89' Defoe finds Milner in space on the right... driven in low, and Mexes puts it behind for a corner.
    • 88' Theo Walcott is about to come on for England...
    • 87' Stevie G is on the floor, and this time it is an England free-kick.
    • 86' Ribery looking dangerous just outside the box. He finds Benzema who is nimbly dispossessed by Cole.
    • 85' Terry clears a cross as far as Benzema, who strikes towards the top-right corner... Gerrard heads behind for a corner.
    • 84' Two French changes - Marvin Martin and Hatem Ben Arfa on for Yohan Cabaye and Florent Malouda.
    • 83' Down the other end,. Defoe holds the ball up rather well, but when he finally lays it off to Welbeck the Manchester United man shins it out for a throw.
    • 82' A Cole slip nearly lets France in - but Terry clears Nasri's cross.
    • 81' Hatem Ben Arfa is about to come on for France.
    • 80' Cabaye! A corner is half-cleared to the Newcastle midfielder, who shows great technique to get over the ball and strike a beautiful shot from the edge of the box that Welbeck deflects wide! Superb effort.
    • 79' Ribery throws himself to the deck, claiming he has been elbowed by Johnson. He's made a meal of that one. A massive one. A seven-course banquet. But France win a free-kick.
    • 78' Oh my giddy aunt. Jordan Henderson is coming on for Scott Parker. Yikes.
    • 77' England change: Jermain Defoe on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
    • 76' Milner tumbles after going shoulder to shoulder with Evra. Theatrical fall, but he stays down. I can't possibly imagine he's actually injured...
    • 75' Welbeck is clearly impeded in the centre circle - that one was a foul, but the ref missed it.
    • 74' Back down the other end, Oxlade-Chamberlain has half a yard at the edge of the box, but his attempted through ball to Welbeck is cut out.
    • 73' Action! The ball is slid through to Benzema racing into the box, and Johnson comes across well to cover.
    • 72' Only it wouldn't be a pin dropping, it would be Steven Gerrard trying to win a free-kick.
    • 71' My goodness, this is a sterile atmosphere. You could hear a pin drop.
    • 70' Yellow card Ashley Young, who has not had a great game. Slides in late on Benzema.
    • 69' Laid off to the edge of the box to Malouda, whose blast is charged bravely down by Scott Parker. Bodies on the line, and all that jazz.
    • 68' 'It's all gone quiet over there.' There, in this case, is the Donbass Arena, where they have probably staged more fervently-supported T'Pau gigs.
    • 67' France threaten with a cross in from the left - Cole heads behind for a corner. And Milner is now trending on Twitter.
    • 66' Boom! Glen Johnson cuts inside onto his left foot and blasts a shot into the crowd. Hmm..
    • 65' It comes to Benzema, who strikes a powerful long-range shot, but it is straight at Hart who makes a pretty comfortable save.
    • 64' Evra comes forward, skips past Milner but Johnson comes across and the ball rolls free...
    • 63' England have nine behind the ball seemingly at all times. Not so much two banks of four as one back of eight. It's a pretty grim watch, but the score remains 1-1.
    • 62' Gerrard delivers again... this time Terry jumps underneath the ball and shoves the defender as he does so. Free-kick France.
    • 61' England corner on the right, Gerrard to take... finds Terry at the back post but it's a weak header from the defender. England do get another corner.
    • 59' Debuchy is well forward down the right, but Lescott comes across to cover and wins a goal kick for his team.
    • 58' England have actually been doing a fair amount of diving since half-time. Are French people sitting in bars complaining about the diving English? Perhaps.
    • 57' Another England appeal for a free-kick, as Ribery challenges Johnson. Referee Rizzoli waves play on again.
    • 56' Another sloppy pass nearly lets France in, and again Hart has to be alert. England far too deep and asking for trouble.
    • 55' The corner is cleared, and England survive. They're hanging in there. Milner needs to come off. Even if it means Downing coming on.
    • 53' Milner gives the ball away again and Evra is clear on the left... low cross, turned behind for a corner. Milner having a nightmare.
    • 52' England are actually having a decent spell all of a sudden. Welbeck plays it in to Gerrard who goes down just outside the box. No foul, says Signor Rizzoli!
    • 51' Another free-kick for England, this time 45 yards out on the left. Gerrard plays a fine crossfield pass to Johnson who cannot bring the ball properly under control.
    • 50' England corner - Gerrard floats it in, and this one is straight down the throat of Lloris.
    • 49' Milner plays Hart into trouble with an ill-advised backpass! The keeper races out to block as Nasri tries to stab it towards goal.
    • 48' France are just better at passing, aren't they? Lots of nice, slick short balls between their midfielder. England still struggling to get a kick.
    • 47' Parker has caught a flailing arm in the face from Ribery... nothing in it, and we will restart with a drop ball.
    • 46' And we're under way again, with France kicking off, now playing from right to left. No personnel changes from either Roy Hodgson or Laurent Blanc.
    • 45+1' That's half-time and it's one apiece. England led for nine minutes, but can have no complaints about the French equaliser.
    • 45' Benzema gets beyond Cole and fires a low shot from a tight angle on the right... Hart saves well with his left foot - spread himself well.
    • 45' Cabaye tries a long shot, but fires wide of the left-hand post.
    • 44' England haven't had a touch for minutes. Agonising stuff, with France in complete control. Still, they haven't created any more goalscoring chances...
    • 42' England need half-time. Under heavy pressure now, and paying for their inability to keep the ball.
    • 41' Nasri aimed a 'shhhh' gesture at the England besnch after scoring. The Telegraph's Paul Hayward thinks it was directed at Gary Neville...
    • 40' No doubt there will be bleating about Hart getting beaten at his near post, but it was a fine strike by Nasri.
    • 39' GOAL!! Nasri! France level! Told you he was playing well... He picks up a lay-off left of centre, just outside the box, and drills a powerful low shot inside the near post!
    • 37' Nasri is having a good game for France - he and Ribery are swapping wide positions going forward. Tough evening for the England full-backs.
    • 36' Diarra's first header was good, but when presented with a second chance he glanced it weakly wide.
    • 35' DIARRA!! Nasri drills in the free-kick, Diarra leaps highest and his powerful header is parried by Hart! The ball is forced towards goal again, but bounces just wide!
    • 33' Ox flies into a challenge on Debuchy. Bit reckless, that. Free-kick and a yellow card for the young winger.
    • 32' Peach of a ball from Gerrard, though the replay shows Lloris might have come for it as it swerved towards the edge of the six-yard box. He stayed on the line, and Lescott buried his header.
    • 31' Time to park the bus? England ahead against the run of play. Not that France have been spectacular. A well-worked free-kick, great delivery from the England captain.
    • 30' GOAL!! JOLEON LESCOTT FOR ENGLAND!! Gerrard whips in a free-kick from the right and it finds Lescott who escapes Diarra and powers a header past Lloris!
    • 29' First close-up of Hodgson. I could swear he's stifling a yawn.
    • 28' Ribery slides it through to the right-back Debuchy, whose cross ricochets off a defender, back goalwards off the Frenchman and Hart plunges low to his left to stop it.
    • 27' Well, this is an immensely poor spectacle so far. Terry hesitates when coming for a Cabaye through ball, but France make nothing of the chance.
    • 26' We have just discovered that Patrick Kluivert and James Milner were Newcastle team-mates in 2004/05.
    • 25' Here's Patrick Kluivert on that Milner howler: "That was a great chance for Milner but it would be hard to score from such a difficult angle." Very generous, Pat... LIVE CHAT: Kluivert and Dacourt
    • 24' Nasri finds Ribery on the France right, and Cole puts the ball out for a throw.
    • 23' Welbeck plays on. He's just trying to run off the injury. Hopefully no more than a painful one...
    • 22' Looks like Rami trod on Welbeck's foot as they both came down from an aerial challenge. Totally unintentional. Let's hope he's OK.
    • 21' Welbeck goes down holding his ankle. Oh, god...
    • 20' This really does have the atmosphere of a friendly. Apparently lots of Russians in the crowd. Which is fair enough, seeing as neither England nor France sold their allocation.
    • 19' France look the better side and have dominated possession as we expected. But England have had by far the best chance, and may live to regret that James Milner miss.
    • 17' Twitter is abuzz with the fact the England players sang the national anthem. I genuinely couldn't care less. This tweet from @CFCCath sums up the level of debate: "Gerrard half heartedly singing national anthem - jt singing loudest - end of"
    • 16' Cabaye bends a shot from 25 yards, and Hart has to dive low to his left to repel it. This game starting to open up.
    • 15' Terrible miss Milner!! Young plays him through with a perfect ball, Milner takes it past Lloris but cannot find the empty net from the left-hand side! England should be one up.
    • 13' Ribery skips brilliantly past Parker, but he cannot tee anyone up for a shot. England break, and want a free-kick for Evra's challenge on Welbeck. No dice.
    • 12' Welbeck wins a throw on the left after showing off some nifty footwork.
    • 11' Nasri drives a low shot goalwards from the edge of the box, but it rolls a yard or so wide of the left-hand post.
    • 11' Minor goalkeeping ricket from Hart, who fumbles an easy catch. Oh, for goodness sake, Joe. Pretend you're playing for City.
    • 10' Ox spots the overlapping Cole on the left, but his pass is cut out... France counter-attack, and Ribery wins a corner on the left.
    • 9' Very quiet inside the stadium. England fans taunting the French with 'Shall we sing a song for you?' but they're hardly raising the roof either.
    • 8' Johnson misjudges the flight of the ball and Benzema helps it goalwards... comfortable for Hart.
    • 7' Nasri goes theatrically to ground on the French right - referee adjudges it a foul by Ashley Cole. As Ron Atkinson used to say, Nasri went down in instalments there.
    • 6' England defend the corner ably enough, but that was lovely from Nasri.
    • 6' Nasri flicks the ball deft;y over the top into the England box for Benzema, and John Terry just manages to get a touch on it. French corner.
    • 5' Warm evening in Donetsk - 32C. Probably perfect for Roy's counter-punching style...
    • 4' Slight miscommunication as Evra dives out and heads the ball into his team-mate Mexes. Diarra collects the loose ball.
    • 3' Ox nips inside from the left and tries to pick out Welbeck. Cut out by a defender, but it's positive stuff from the teenager.
    • 2' First glimpse of the Ox, but the ball races out of play for a French throw. Get him off!
    • 1' Terrible, terrible countdown to kick-off over the PA system, and we are under way! England kick off, playing from right to left in all-white. France are all in blue.
    • 16:59 National anthems: France 1, England 0. My word La Marseillaise is a belter...
    • 16:57 If you're watching on the telly, what on earth was that from Clive Tyldesley??
    • 16:57 Out come the teams at the Donbass Arena! For all the talk about England fans not travelling, there is a decent turnout here. A few patches of empty seats, though.
    • 16:55 As well as this matchcast, you can join Patrick Kluivert and Olivier Dacourt for a live chat along with the game. They are working for Eurosport TV, and you can send them your questions throughout the game. LIVE CHAT: Kluivert and Dacourt
    • 16:55 Tom Adams tweets from Donetsk: "Oh yes. A team of dancers dressed as miners have just entered the pitch. No way this won't be absolutely brilliant. I was too young to remember the miner's strike, but this is how I imagine it was: soundtracked by Europop and featuring sparkly helmets. Apparently the organisers in Donetsk wanted to dramatise a slag heap via the medium of dance too, but the cast of TOWIE were unavailable."
    • 16:50 Tonight's match officials are Italian - Ref Nicola Rizzoli, assistants Renato Faverani and Andrea Stefani, plus 'additional assistant referees' (men with wands) Gianluca Rocchi and Paolo Tagliavento. Fourth official is the Czech Pavel Kralovec.
    • 16:50 Ray Clemence has snapped his Achilles, apparently. That's clearly a major injury, and could compromise his work with the England keepers over the rest of the tournament. The England injury hoodoo continues...
    • 16:45 Roy Hodgson to ITV on Oxlade-Chamberlain: "If it doesn't work there are other options, but quite frankly I think he desrves to start the game on what he has shown us."
    • 16:45 An amusing offering from The Guardian's TV critic Stuart Heritage: "Steven Gerrard is currently giving the single most downbeat interview I have ever seen. I've seen carbon monoxide with more zip." It's true.
    • 16:40 Also trending: #MenShouldntTextEachOther, #4HOURS and What Would You Do If. Huh?
    • 16:40 This match has a formidable six trending topics on Twitter right now - in descending order: Ray Clemence, Jamie Carragher, Three Lions, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adrian Chiles and Gareth Southgate.
    • 16:35 According to my local turf accountant, France are a 6/4 shot to win tonight, England are 5/2 and the draw is 2/1. Not sure I'd be putting my hard-earned on Roy's boys at those odds.
    • 16:30 A slightly bizarre injury update now - England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence has been carried off during the warm-up!
    • 16:25 France have been eliminated from the last two major tournaments (Euro 2008, WC 2010) without winning a single game. (P6 D2 L4).
    • 16:25 Time for a stat from Opta: "England are without a win in five against France in all competitions, losing their last three. England have only ever lost four consecutive games against the same opponent three times before; the last time this occurred was in 1976, when England lost a fourth successive game against Brazil."
    • 16:20 An update from Tom on the internet situation at the ground: "Internet situation fine for now, though I have been sneaky and basically nicked someone else's cable. Should be fine for ratings." Very shrewd, Tom...
    • 16:15 Oddly, the internet in the Donbass Arena is hopeless, but if he gets some signal Tom Adams will be tweeting throughout proceedings. Tom Adams - @tomEurosport
    • 16:15 So, what do you make of Roy Hodgson's team selection, in particular Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain over Stewart Downing? Contact me on Twitter - @alexchick81
    • 16:10 My name is Alex Chick, and I'm taking over from Tom Adams's very fine live chat. Tom is at the Donbass Arena, while I'm sitting in front of a TV screen in some dank West London office. Read Tom's musings.
    • 16:05 You may notice England only have 10 subs to France's 12. That's because Wayne Rooney is suspended and Martin Kelly has a migraine. Tony Hibbert waits anxiously by the phone as I type.
    • 16:05 ENGLAND: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Parker, Gerrard, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Welbeck... Subs: Green, Butland, Jagielka, Baines, Jones, Henderson, Downing, Walcott, Carroll, Defoe.
    • 16:05 TEAMS: FRANCE: Lloris, Debuchy, Evra, Rami, Mexès, Cabaye, Ribéry, Nasri, Malouda, Diarra, Benzema.... Subs: Mandanda, Carrasso, Reveillere, Koscielny, Clichy, Valbuena, Matuidi, M'Vila, Martin, Ben Arfa, Giroud, Menez.
    • 16:00 Welcome to live coverage of France v England from the Donbass Arena in Donetsk! It's Roy Hodgson's tournament debut and England's first step into the unknown at Euro 2012!
  • Summary

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Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Line-up

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