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England 1-0 Ukraine
In South Africa 2010, while 2-1 down to Germany, England were cruely and unjustly denied a clear goal when Frank Lampard’s shot appeared to land a considerable margin over the line. That ‘goal’ would have level the scores and who knows what could have happened. They went onto lost the game, their heaviest ever defeat at an international tournament.
Nearly two years later, Ukraine were denied a goal after the ball clearly crossed the line against guess who, England. An argument that justice had finally been done as England won the game 1-0 courtesy of Wayne Rooney’s first goal in an international competition since 2004 to top group D.
The host nation made the more attacking start to the game and were looking to attack down the wings, with both fullbacks getting forward as often as possible. Despite this, they were limited to shots from distance that never troubled Joe Hart’s goal. Garmash’s shot dipped a little too late and Gusev’s shot following a mistake by Ashley Young but thankfully for the Manchester United star, his mistake went unpunished as the shot sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
This mistake spured England into life. They kept possession well and should have been ahead on 27 minutes. A sublime cross field pass from John Terry found Ashley Young unmarked on the left. His cross found Wayne Rooney’s head but the returning striker could not direct his header goal wards, with the ball going wide of the right hand post.
Ukraine, boosted by a boisterous home support were not daunted by a side almost 50 places ahead of them in the Fifa World Rankings. Yarmolenko’s Curling shot was comfortably saved by Joe Hart and Garmash had another shot from distance skim across the turf wide. At the other end, Wayne Rooney’s failed to keep a free header from a corner down and Scott Parker’s half volley sailed harmlessly wide.
Knowing they could be eliminated if they lost and after a less than acceptable first half time performance, England responded in the best possible manner by scoring with just 3 minutes on the second half clock. A teasing ball from Steven Gerrard was lashed across the box and after taking two deflections and quirming under the body of Pyatov, Rooney was given the simplest of tasks to nod the ball in at the back post.
In both their previous Group D Matches, England had taken the lead and has relinquished it soon afterwards. Despite being on top after the goal, Ukraine were still in the game and threatened to level scores. Artem Milevskiy made the most of a lack of offside flag from a cross from the left but put his header narrowly over. But the match’s most controversial moment came when Marko Devic’s shot was firstly saved by Hart then cleared off the line by John Terry but replay’s showed clearly that the ball had crossed the line.
Both teams had chances to score and after a rather a drab first half, the second lived up to the pre game expectation. Wayne Rooney came close from a header and Ashley Cole was only denied by a fine save from Pyatov his first international goal on his 97th appearance for his country. Ukraine’s best chance came through Yevhen Konoplyanka. His shot moved in the air, forcing hart to beat it away before Joleon Lescott reacted superbly to put the ball out of harms way with Ukrainan attackers lurking.
Ukraine threw all their attacking options on, but couldn’t find a way past a resolute English defence. Possible penalty appeals from a handball against John Terry fell on deaf ears and Yarmalenko’s curled shot landed over as England topped their group to set up a quarter final date with Italy in Kiev on Sunday.
England 1-0 Ukraine (HT 0-0)
England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Ashley Cole, James Milner (Theo Walcott 69), Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard (c), Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck (Andy Carroll 81), Wayne Rooney (Alex Oxlade Chamberlain 86)
Ukraine: Pyatov, Gusev, Khacheridi, Selin, Rakitskiy, Yarmolenko, Tymoschuk, Konoplianka, Garmash (Nazarenko 77), Devic (Shevchenko 69), Milevskiy (Butko 76).
Goals: Wayne Rooney (48)
Bookings: Tymoschuk (62) Rakitskiy (73) Cole (78) Shevchenko (86)