Another Narrow Victory For England
Roy Hodgson´s England side are through to the last eight after defeating Ukraine 1–0 at the Donbass Area Stadium in Donetsk on Tuesday night. With less than five minutes of the second period gone, Wayne Rooney headed home from close range to give The Three Lions a well deserved victory which took them to the top of Group D.
Ukraine entered this fixture on the back of an embarrassing 2–0 defeat against France last Friday whilst England were on a high after beating Erik Hamren´s Sweden team 3–2. As expected, England started the match on a bright note but struggled to find the back of the net during the opening skirmishes of the encounter. Wayne Rooney, who appeared in his first match of the 2012 European Championships following a two-game ban, should have netted after 28 minutes when the prodigal son met a fine cross from his fellow Manchester United team mate Ashley Young but he could only head wide of the post. The Ukrainians dominated the possession of the ball for large parts of the first period but The Three Lions came back a lot stronger after the resumption. And a few minutes into the second half, a cross from Steven Gerrard eventually found Wayne 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 Blokhin´s plucky team looked to have the ball in the net but the officials 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 sides having plenty of opportunities to score, but at the end of the day the home team were simply running out of gas. After beating co-hosts Ukraine 1–0 yesterday, England now face Cesare Prandelli´s Italy team at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev in the European Championships Quarter Finals this Sunday. England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Young, James Milner, Scott Parker, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andy Carroll.