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893 vs. France

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950 vs. France
  Monday, 11 June 2012
Mistrzostwa Europy w Piłce Noźnej 2012 First Phase Group D
Match One

France 1 England 1 [1-1]

Donbass Arena, Donets'ka oblast, Donetsk, Ukraine
Kick-off (EEST): 7.00pm 5.00pm BST. 
Attendance: 47,400.

94 minutes 46.00 & 48:00 England kicked-off

[1-1] Samir Nasri 39
 18-yard right-footed shot low to the near post and Hart's right from a Franck Ribéry lay-off
[0-1] Joleon Lescott header 30 29:33
 glancing 5-yard unopposed header from a Steve Gerrard free-kick

  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 34 33:46
  Ashley Young 71 70:08
Commentator: Clive Tyldesley with Andy Townsend

Match Summary

Officials from Italy

France Squad


England Squad
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). 
Fourth official - Pavel Královec, 34 (16 August 1977), Czech Republic, FIFA-listed 2005.
Additional Referees - Gianluca Rocchi, 38 (25 August 1973), Pirenze, FIFA-listed 2008 and Paolo Tagliavento, 39 (19 September 1972), Terni, FIFA-listed 2007.
Reserve Assistant Referee - Roman Slyško, Slovakia
UEFA 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



FIFA (6 June 2012) 14th
EFO ranking Group 1 (4th)

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 Manager: 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
168 days
26 December 1986 G Olympique lyonnais 34 19ᵍᵃ
2 Debuchy, Mathieu 26
319 days
28 July 1985 RB Lille OSC 6 1
4 Rami, Adil 26
167 days
27 December 1985
in Bastía, Corsica
CD Valencia CF , Spain 21 1
5 Mexès, Philippe  30
73 days
30 March 1982 CD AC Milan, Italy 27 1
3 Evra, Patrice L. 31
27 days
15 May 1981 LB Manchester United FC, England 42 0
6 Cabaye, Yohan, off 84th min. 26
149 days
14 January 1986 RM Newcastle United FC, England 14 0
18 Diarra, Alou 30
332 days
15 July 1981 DM Olympique de Marseille 42 0
15 Malouda, Florent J., off 85th min. 31
364 days
13 June 1980
in Cayenne, French Guiana
LM Chelsea FC, England 78 9
Nasri, Samir 24
351 days
26 June 1987 RAM Manchester City FC, England 32 4
Ribéry, Franck  29
65 days
7 April 1983 LAM FC Bayern München, Germany 61 10
10 Benzema, Karim 24
175 days
19 December 1987 CF Real Madrid CF, Spain 46 15
France Substitutes
scoreline: France 1 England 1
20 Ben Arfa, Hatem, on 84th min. (83:57) Cabaye 25
96 days
7 March 1987 RM Newcastle United FC, England 12 2
19 Martin, Marvin, on 85th min. (84:08) for Malouda 24
153 days
10 January 1988 LM FC Sochaux-Montbéliard 13 2
result: France 1 England 1
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.
Coach Laurent Blanc played against England in February and June 1992, June 1997, February 1999 and in his final French appearance, his 97th cap, in September 2000.
4-3-3(5-1) Lloris -
Debuchy, Rami, Mex
s,ra -
(Ben Arfa), Diarra, Malouda (Martin) -
Nasri, Benzema, Ribery
Averages (Starting XI): Age 28 years 2 days Appearances/Goals 36.6 3.6


England Team



FIFA (6 June 2012) 6th
EFO ranking Group 3

ELO rating 7th
Colours: The 2012 home uniform - White v-neck collared jerseys with red piping on collar, white shorts with red trim, white socks with two-tone red hoop.
Capt: Steven Gerrard
(18th (38) captaincy (3))
Manager: Roy Hodgson, 64 (9 August 1947), appointed 1 May 2012,
3rd match, W 2 - D 1 - L 0 - F 3 - A 1.
England Lineup
1 Hart, C. Joseph J. 25
53 days
19 April 1987 G Manchester City FC 19  12ᵍᵃ
2 Johnson, Glen M. 27
293 days
23 August 1984 RB Liverpool FC 37 1
6 Terry, John G. 31
187 days
7 December 1980 CD Chelsea FC 74 6
Lescott, Joleon P. 29
300 days
16 August 1982 CD Manchester City FC 17 1
3 Cole, Ashley 31
174 days
20 December 1980 LB Chelsea FC 95 0
16 Milner, James P. 26
159 days
4 January 1986 RM Manchester City FC 27 0
Gerrard, Steven G. 32
12 days
30 May 1980 CM Liverpool FC 93 19
17 Parker, Scott M., off 78th min. 31
242 days
13 October 1980 CM Tottenham Hotspur FC 14 0
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexander M.D., off 77th min. 18
301 days
15 August 1993 LM Arsenal FC



Oxlade-Chamberlain cautioned in the 34th min. after he dives into a challenge on Mathieu Debuchy near the touchline and his own penalty area.
Young, Ashley S. 26
338 days
9 July 1985 AM Manchester United FC
Young cautioned in the 71st min. for a lunge on Karim Benzema.
22 Welbeck, Daniel N.T.M., off 91st min. 21
198 days
26 November 1990 CF Manchester United FC 6 1
England Substitutes
scoreline: France 1 England 1
21 Defoe, Jermain C., on 77th min (76:28) for Oxlade-Chamberlain 29
248 days
7 October 1982
Tottenham Hotspur FC
48 17 15
record 31 sub apps
8 Henderson, Jordan B., on 78th min (77:22) for Parker 21
360 days
17 June 1990 CM Liverpool FC 4 1 0
7 Walcott, Theo J., on 91st min. (90:04) for Welbeck 23
87 days
16 March 1989 CF Arsenal FC 25 19 3
result: France 1 England 1
unused substitutes: 9-Andy Carroll, 12-Leighton Baines, 13-Rob Green, 14-Phil Jones, 18-Phil Jagielka, 19-Stewart Downing, 23-Jack Butland.

team notes:

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's father, Mark Chamberlain, also played for England (1982-84).
records: England have never won their opening European Championship Finals group match, on this, their eighth attempt.
Manager Roy Hodgson was in charge of Switzerland against France for a friendly victory in May 1992 (2-1).
4-4-2(1-1) Hart -
Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole -
Milner, Gerrard, Parker
(Henderson), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Defoe) -
Young -
Averages (Starting XI): Age 27 years 207 days 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 atery 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'!  (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

BBC Sport


Mike Payne - football historian and contributor