Game in a sentence
Astonishingly another controversial goal line incident involving England steals the spotlight in Donetsk as Roy Hodgson’s side somehow win an action-packed match 1-0.
- It will be all most people want to talk about. Just after the hour mark, Ukraine countered from deep inside their own box and the ball came to Artem Milevskiy who was in an offside position when the ball was played. That wasn’t called and it was to be the first of two errors by the officials. Milevskiy then found his forward partner Marko Devic whose shot looked to be going in before John Terry’s attempted clearance made it close. As the shot above shows the whole ball completely went over the line and an extra official (placed at the bottom of the image) was in a great position to see it. The goal was not given and the game continued.
- Where do we start with this? First of all we have to stress that the game should have been stopped seconds before for a clear offside. Secondly, two wrongs do not make a right and once again we have to address the guardians of this game continuing to bury their heads in the sand on this issue. Thirdly, the very least they should do (while they wait and wait) is empower their officials to stop the game, come together to discuss the matter without the influence of players surrounding them. In this case the referee could not have seen it but the extra official should have.
- However, with that in mind, we should remember how quickly these incidents happen. That is why it is FIFA who deserves the blame for such injustices not officials. They need help. Get it done.
- The game itself was relatively uneventful for an hour. The only thing England took from the first half was a misplaced header from Wayne Rooney and an excellent free kick sent in by Steven Gerrard that Rooney failed to get on the end of. They looked tired, lacked composure on the ball, didn’t work off the ball to provide outlets and thus gave the ball away far too much.
- Despite their issues, England should have been ahead because Rooney’s miss was without doubt the best chance any side had in the first 45 minutes.
- Ukraine were excellent. We’ve seen in this tournament how they like to switch the ball to the opposite flank quickly and they got a lot of change out of wide areas. Oleg Gusev, inconsistent in the first two matches, had his best game of the tournament while wingers Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka, in particular, were lively and always fancied their chances against England’s wide men.
- There was a feeling that Ukraine may pay the price for not taking their chances and that happened when Gerrard whipped in another great ball just after half-time, goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov mishandled it and handed Rooney the simplest of goals as he headed home. It was unfair on the hosts but a reward for England and their skipper who had once again sent another fantastic ball into the zone of uncertainty for defenders.
- Ukraine never gave up and had more chances to test England in the second half but ultimately paid the price for not being ruthless enough.
- Andriy Shevchenko, left out from the start with a knee injury, came on the final 20 minutes and therefore managed to play in all three games for his side at this tournament, a wonderful achievement at his age.
- England move on with more questions than answers once again but despite an average performance got exactly what they wanted for the third successive game. They’ve yet to inspire anyone yet but have managed to top group D and now await Italy in Sunday’s quarter final thanks to France’s loss to Sweden.
- Steven Gerrard
- John Terry
- Andriy Yarmolenko
Six Super Stats
- Since the introduction of the group phase in 1980, the only editions of the ECh in which a host country failed to reach the last four was when there were co-hosts (Belgium in 2000, Austria and Switzerland in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine in 2012).
- This tournament has had four teams failing to qualify for the quarterfinals despite winning their opening match, one in every group. Ukraine joined Russia, Denmark and Croatia tonight. No previous ECh has had more than two countries achieving this feat.
- England had gone unbeaten in the group phase of the European Championship just once: in 1996 on home turf.
- England will now face Italy in the quarterfinals. Their H2H record in 22 matches is nine wins for Italy and seven wins for England (six draws). Italy have only lost one of their last nine meetings (6-2-1).
- Wayne Rooney has scored five goals in his five ECh matches. Of all players with at least five ECh matches behind their name, only one player has scored more than one goal per match on average: Michel Platini (France) with nine goals in five matches at Euro 1984.
- England have won their last 10 international matches in which Rooney scored at least once. The only competitive match England lost with a goal from Rooney was the Euro 2008 qualifier at Russia (2-1) in October 2007.
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