UEFA 2012 European Championship : Day 9

Saturday 16 June 2012

Last night the second round of Group games were completed with two fixtures involving the Ukraine, France, Sweden and England. Ukraine would qualify if they beat France, and defeat for Sweden would mean they were out of the tournament.

Group D

Ukraine (0) 0 – 2 (0) France

Well this game is more likely to be remembered for events off the pitch then on it. After four minutes the game was stopped because of torrential rain and lightning over the stadium in Donetsk. Fork-lighting provided a spectacular and dramatic skyline as the pitch became waterlogged. Thanks to the ground staff the match did get underway again fifty five minutes later. France had the better of the first half and Ukraine keeper Pyatov had to save well from Mexes and Menez. Indeed Menez started the second-half brightly and after having an early chance saved, put France ahead on fifty three minutes. He received the ball just inside the right hand side of the penalty box, where he cut inside to drive a left foot shot into the corner. The Ukrainian fans were silenced even further just three minutes later, when Benzema threaded a ball through for Cabaye who finished well to put the French 2-0 up. He nearly got another when a lovely move by France entered with a thunderous shot which struck the post. By the end Ukraine looked dispirited, but despite this defeat can still qualify. England beware.

Sweden (0) 2 – 3 (1) England

As with the game against the French, I had the same feeling of serenity and that it will all work out. That feeling though was thoroughly tested in a see-saw second-half. England had been fairly comfortable in the opening forty five minutes and lead with a belter of a header from Andy Carroll. However, a ten minute horror period had the Swedes leading 2-1. First on forty nine minutes a free-kick wasn’t cleared by England which left Mellberg with a clear shot on goal. Joe Hart got a hand to it, but it only deflected into Johnson and into the net. Worse followed on fifty nine minutes, when England again failed to cope at a set-piece, leaving Mellberg to put Sweden ahead. Walcott came on in place of Milner on the hour and effectively turned the game. On sixty four minutes the Arsenal player lashed in a swerving shot and then on seventy eight minutes got amongst the Swedish defence to cross for Danny Welbeck who magnificently slotted home to put England ahead 3-2. It was good to see the decisions made by Roy Hodgson work out for him. Carroll was brought in, scored and lead the line in the tradition of an old-style centre forward. At 2-1 down, Hodgson brought on Walcott and changed the game. Also refreshing to see was the realism expressed by the BBC pundits at the end of the game. When Gary Lineker asked if England could win it, there was none of the bravado of the past and instead an honest answer that England are some distance from the best sides in the tournament. Let’s just enjoy the ride…

As a result of these two games, Sweden became the second team to exit the competition, so we say adjö to the Blågult. For England, France and the Ukraine it all comes down to the last games. The permutations are as follows:


  • England will be through with a draw. If they lose, they have to hope France lose by enough so that England at least end level with Les Bleus on goal difference and goals scored (as England have a superior coefficient).


  • Ukraine will be through with a win and out with any other result.


  • France will be through with a draw. If they lose, they would only be out if England lose but at the same time move level with them on either goal difference or goals scored.


Tonight the departure lounges of Poland and Ukraine will start to become busier as the final round of Group games begins.

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Posted June 16, 2012 by Editor in category "UEFA 2012 Euro Championship

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