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Monday, 11 June 2012
2012 European Championship Finals First Phase Group D, Match One

France 1 England 1 [1-1]
 

Donbass Arena, Donets'ka oblast, Donetsk
Attendance: 47,400;
Kick-off: 7.00pm EEST, 5.00pm GMT
Live on ITV One/HD (UK) - Commentator: Clive Tyldesley

England - Joleon Lescott (header 30 29:33)
France - Samir Nasri (eighteen-yard shot 39 38:36)
Match Summary
France Squad

England Squad
Results 2010-2015 England - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (34 33:46), Ashley Young (71 70:08).

England kicked-off. 94 minutes (46.00 & 48:00).

 

Match Summary

Officials from Italy

France

Type

England

Referee (yellow) - Nicola Rizzoli
40 (5 October 1971), Bologna, FIFA listed 2007.

Assistant Referees - Renato Faverani, 42 (25 November 1969) and Andrea Stefani, 42 (15 October 1969).
 
Additional Referees - Gianluca Rocchi, 38 (25 August 1973), Pirenze, FIFA-listed 2008 and Paolo Tagliavento, 39 (19 September 1972), Terni, FIFA-listed 2007.
 

Fourth official - Pavel Královec, 34 (16 August 1977), Czech Republic, FIFA-listed 2005.
 

Reserve Assistant Referee - Roman Slyško, Slovakia

Evaluator - Jozef Marko, Slovakia.

19 Goal Attempts 3
15 Attempts on Target 1
0 Hit Bar/Post 0
11 Corner Kicks Won 4
0 Offside Calls Against 5
9 Fouls Conceded 7
61% Possession 39%

France Team

 

Rank:

FIFA (6th June 2012) 14th
ELO rating 14th to 12th
Colours: Made by Nike - Meteor blue shirts with tonal mariniere thin horizontal stripes, with military-style pale pacific blue collar with gold piping, meteor blue shorts with pacific blue stripe, meteor blue socks with four tonal stripes.
Capt: Hugo Lloris Coach: Laurent Robert Blanc, 46 (19 November 1965), appointed 2 July 2010,
24th match, P 20 - W 12 - D 7 - L 2 - F 30 - A 10.
France Lineup
1 Lloris, Hugo 25 26 December 1986 G Olympique Lyonnais 34 0
2 Debuchy, Mathieu 26 28 July 1985 RB LOSC Lille Métropole 6 1
3 Evra, Patrice L. 31 15 May 1981 LB Manchester United FC, England 42 0
4 Rami, Adil 26 27 December 1985 CD Valencia CF, Spain 21 1
5 Mexés, Philippe  30 30 March 1982 CD AC Milan, Italy 27 1
6 Cabaye, Yohan, off 84th min. 26 14 January 1986 M Newcastle United FC, England 14 0
7 Ribéry, Franck  29 7 April 1983 F FC Bayern München, Germany 61 10
18 Diarra, Alou 30 15 July 1981 M Olympique de Marseille 42 0
15 Malouda, Florent J., off 85th min. 31 13 June 1980 M Chelsea FC, England 78 9
10 Benzema, Karim 24 19 December 1987 F Real Madrid CF, Spain 46 15
11 Nasri, Samir 24 26 June 1987 M Manchester City FC, England 32 4
France Substitutes
20 Ben Arfa, Hatem, on 84th min. (83:57) Cabaye 25 7 March 1987 F Newcastle United FC, England 12 2
19 Martin, Marvin, on 85th min. (84:08) for Malouda 24 10 January 1988 M FC Sochaux-Montbéliard 13 2

unused substitutes:

8-Mathieu Valbuena, 9-Olivier Giroud, 12-Blaise Matuidi, 13-Anthony Réveillàre, 14-Jérémy Ménez, 17-Yann M'Vila, 16-Steve Mandanda, 21-Laurent Koscielny, 22-Gaël Clichy, 23-Cédric Carrasso.
   
4-3-3(5-1) Lloris -
Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Evra -
Cabaye
(Ben Arfa), Diarra, Malouda (Martin) -
Nasri, Benzema, Ribery

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 27.4 Appearances/Goals 36.6 3.6

 

England Team

 

Rank:

FIFA (6th June 2012) 6th
ELO rating 7th
Colours: The 2012 home uniform - White shirts with red piping on collar, white shorts, white socks.
Capt: Steven Gerrard, 18th captaincy. Coach: Roy Hodgson, 64, appointed 1 May 2012,
3rd match, W 2 - D 1 - L 0 - F 3 - A 1.
England Lineup
1 Hart, C. Joseph J. 25 19 April 1987 G Manchester City FC 19  12 GA
2 Johnson, Glen M. 27 23 August 1984 RB Liverpool FC 37 1
3 Cole, Ashley 31 20 December 1980 LB Chelsea FC 95 0
4 Gerrard, Steven G. 32 30 May 1980 M Liverpool FC 93 19
15 Lescott, Joleon P. 29 16 August 1982 CD Manchester City FC 16 1
6 Terry, John G. 31 7 December 1980 CD Chelsea FC 74 6
16 Milner, James P. 26 4 January 1986 M Manchester City FC 27 0
17 Parker, Scott M., off 78th min. 31 13 October 1980 M Tottenham Hotspur FC 14 0
22 Welbeck, Daniel N.T.M., off 91st min. 21 26 November 1990 F Manchester United FC 6 1
20 Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexander M.D., off 77th min. 18 15 August 1993 M Arsenal FC 3 0
Oxlade-Chamberlain cautioned in the 34th min. for a foul, after he dives into a challenge on Mathieu Debuchy near the touchline and his own penalty area.
11 Young, Ashley S. 26 9 July 1985 M Manchester United FC 22 6
Young cautioned in the 71st min. for a foul, for a lunge on Karim Benzema.
England Substitutes
21 Defoe, Jermain C., on 77th min (76:28) for Oxlade-Chamberlain 29 7 October 1982 F Tottenham Hotspur FC 48 15
8 Henderson, Jordan B., on 78th min (77:22) for Parker 21 17 June 1990 M Liverpool FC 4 0
7 Walcott, Theo J., on 91st min. (90:04) for Welbeck 23 16 March 1989 M Arsenal FC 25 3

unused substitutes:

9-Andy Carroll, 12-Leighton Baines, 13-Rob Green, 14-Phil Jones, 18-Phil Jagielka, 19-Stewart Downing, 23-Jack Butland.
   
4-4-2(1-1) Hart -
Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole -
Milner, Gerrard, Parker
(Henderson), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Defoe) -
Young -
Welbeck
(Walcott).

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 27.0 Appearances/Goals 36.9 3.0

 

    Match Report by Mike Payne

Never in the field of human conflict has so little been expected of so few!  That was how this England side went into Euro 2012, the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.  With the build up to this major tournament being difficult, to say the least, Roy Hodgson took his men on a voyage into the unknown.  Their qualifying group, thought to be one of the toughest, was going to be a challenge, and first up were the French, unbeaten in their previous 21 games and one of the favourites for the competition.  It was to be an interesting start.

Hodgson first surprise was to select the young 18 year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a starter in the team.  It was a bold move but the Arsenal player did not let anyone down, and once or twice he showed glimpses of his tremendous potential.  England began well, as has been the case lately, and there was a confident air about their play.  The good organisation was soon in evidence and the team really did look like a team, something that hasn't always been the case in other tournaments.  They pressed the French at every opportunity and had the better of the first half hour.  In fact the first real chance came in the 14th minute, when Ashley Young spotted the forward run of James Milner and put a glorious pass through to him.  Milner sidestepped the onrushing Hugo Lloris but just failed to turn his angled shot into the gaping net.  It was a real let-off for the French, and hugely encouraging for the many English fans in the stadium.

France then took some of the sting out of the England side by playing some possession football.  Back, back, sideways, sideways, back, forward, it was like watching eleven Ray Wilkins's!  (Older readers will know what I mean).  I always smile when I see possession statistics that say 70% against 30%, but what is the point if it gets you nowhere and hardly conjures up a shot?  Karim Benzema's effort being the only worthwhile shot.

There were a few long range efforts that had Joe Hart scrambling a little, but in the main England were content to defend in numbers and stifle the 'more talented' French players.  On 24 minutes Hart made a fine save from Alou Diarra's header from a corner, and the same player headed wide when the ball came back to him. A near miss but in the main it was working well for England and on the 30 minute mark they made France pay for all their 'possession' by doing the one thing that mucks up possession football, they scored a goal!

A free-kick wide right was taken by skipper Steven Gerrard, and he curled in a beauty to the far post where Joleon Lescott came roaring in to power a downward header into the net.  The England fans at the stadium and at home went mad!  Could the unthinkable happen?  Had England been written off too early?  At this point in the match the three lions were standing very proud on those white shirts.

Franck Ribery was being well policed by Glen Johnson, and Ashley Cole was his usual immaculate self on the left.  In the middle John Terry and Lescott were solid and, after a couple of shaky moments Hart was assured in goal.  It was disappointing therefore when France somehow scored an equaliser they barely deserved at the time.  The goal came on 39 minutes, and for the only time in the match England's players failed to shut players down.  As the ball was laid back to Sami Nasri, the Manchester City player had oceans of room to fire in a 20 yard shot to clubmate Hart's near post.  It was a fine shot through a crowd of players, but was even more annoying as England had had earlier opportunities to clear the ball.  It also lifted France, who at the time were struggling for ideas as to how to breach England's defences.

The second half saw France have the bulk of possession, whilst England were looking to break quickly to try and catch their opponents out.  Danny Welbeck had the unenviable task of holding the ball when in possession, waiting for support, but he was rarely given a decent pass, although it must be said that his work-rate was outstanding.  Young faded a little as the half wore on, as did Oxlade-Chamberlain, and it was no surprise when these two were substituted.

The French meanwhile pressed forward relentlessly, well, sideways, sideways, back, forward actually, and it was not surprising that they were able to create the odd half-chance with so much possession.  But there were few clear goal attempts, apart from long-range efforts that Hart dealt with confidently.  He also spread himself well on a couple of occasions to stop shots from Benzema and Ribery when France did manage to finally breach the defences.  In fact, one of the nearest chances of a goal came at the other end when Milner's low cross was cleared by Phillipe Mexes with Welbeck looking to get a touch.

Sometimes when watching England, your heart is in your mouth during a half dominated by the opposition, but it was not the case here, and it was comfortable for their fans.  One has to ask what might have happened had we had Wayne Rooney available, as his extra class would have asked a few more questions of the over-rated French side.  Ah well, he certainly looks as though he is champing at the bit on the sidelines.  Can't wait!

So we now have to face the Swedes and as we all know they are not our favourite opponents in these tournaments, but as long as we show the same work ethic and resolve in that game I, for one, won't complain.

For England, the back four played well, the midfield was solid and did their jobs and the work-rate all around the team was a tribute to the manager.  For France, Nasri was excellent and the right-back Mathieu Debuchy was outstanding.  And one last thing, wouldn't it be nice if we had the bulk of the refereeing decisions in our favour for a change, although that didn't happen here as the Italian ref gave us very little.  Some of the French challenges, especially from Yohan Cabaye, that went unpunished beggared belief.  But a good draw for the lads and a platform for later in the tournament.

Source Notes

TRIVIA

  • England have never won their opening European Championship Finals group match, on this, their eighth attempt.
  • BBC Sport
    TheFA.com
    SkySports.com/football
    UEFA.com
    Mike Payne - football historian and contributor

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    CG