UEFA 2012 European Championship: Day 13

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Group D

Ukraine (0) 0 – 1 (0) England

France (0) 0 – 2 (0) Sweden

Just one point…just one point…that’s all England needed to make it through to the Quarter-Finals. Wayne Rooney back after suspension – what could possibly go wrong? Well as it turns out…nothing. For once the football gods smiled sweetly on England. In the first-half roared on by the home crowd in Donetsk, the Ukrainians’ dominated the possession, but England held firm. In fact the best chance of the game fell to England, when an unmarked Wayne Rooney was unable to direct his header goal-ward and so the first forty five minutes ended 0-0. Over in Kiev, France and Sweden were also unable to break the deadlock and they too went in 0-0 at half-time. England came out more positively in the second half and their first piece of fortune came on forty eight minutes. Gerrard twisted and turned out wide and sent in a driven cross, the ball took deflections off two Ukrainian players and the goalkeeper before bouncing nicely for Rooney to have the easiest of tap-in headers. The Three Lions second piece of fortune came on sixty two minutes. Marko Devic had a shot partly save by Joe Hart, but the ball continued towards goal, John Terry raced back and hooked the ball out. Replays showed the ball had crossed the line and a goal should have been awarded. Again the issue of goal-line technology will be talked about and also the role of the assistants stationed on the goal-line. Surely the official was ideally place to make a decision?  Clearly not. England then had a third piece of fortune when on fifty four minutes over in Kiev, Sweden went ahead against France with a stunning volley from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This left England clear at the top and facing a Quarter-Final with Italy rather than Spain. Croatia continued to press and with twenty minutes to go brought on Shevchenko. However, England contained the Ukrainian threat and were unlucky not to have increased their lead when Ashley Cole had a late effort saved. England also should have had a penalty when substitute Carroll was blatantly bundled over on the box. As the game wound down to ninety minutes Larsson added a second goal for Sweden over France and England knew they were through and would play Italy on Sunday. Will I still feel as calm come Sunday evening?

Looking ahead to the first of the Quarter-Final games tomorrow, the Czech Republic take on Portugal in Warsaw. These teams have previously met on two occasions in the European Championship Finals. The first time was at Euro 1996 in England at the Quarter-Final stage. The game played at Villa Park saw the Czech Republic beat Portugal 1-0 with a second-half goal from Karel Poborsky on fifty three minutes. At Euro 2008 in a Group game in Geneva,  Portugal got their revenge with a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic. The Portuguese went ahead with a goal on eight minutes from Deco, but Sionko levelled for the Czech Republic on seventeen minutes. However, two second-half goals from Ronaldo and Quaresma saw the host nation through. From these previous encounters, the winner of the game has gone onto reach the Final, but then lose. Is history telling us that the winner of this game will be the Euro 2012 runner-up? Portugal got better as the Group games went on and expect them to go through against the Czech Republic.

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Posted June 20, 2012 by Editor in category "UEFA 2012 Euro Championship

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