Group Elimination D: Tuesday, 19 June 2012 - Donetsk - Donbass Arena
The English and the Ukrainians go at it on the 19th in Donetsk for the finale
After winning the game against the Swedes 2-1, the “Three-Lions” are back for a finale and this time against the Ukraine team. The previous game against Sweden was a rollercoaster ride with Sweden being allowed to take a 2-1 lead at first but salvation came in the form of Theo Walcott and the English was able to exploit Sweden’s defensive weakness. Another plus on the English side for this coming match-up is the return of Wayne Rooney, England’s answer to Ronaldo or something of the like.
Roy Hodgson is face with a dilemma however and it involves Rooney’s return and Andy Caroll’s cull due to the return. Carroll showed excellent performance during the two previous games during Rooney’s absence and removing him will surely be detrimental for the English side. Defense is another potential issue, John Terry seemed winded and beaten up by Ibrahomovic’s barrage of attacks.
After a thrilling victory against Sweden and an agonizing defeat against France, Ukraine is at it final game of make or break, this time against England. Andriy Schevchenko has the burden of driving his team to victory, the burden being the team’s weak defense and faltering attack formation.
Changes on formation need to be made for the Euro 2012 Co-hosts the attack line must elarn to work together and act quickly for the English offensive is strong and persistent.
Predictions: England 2-1
England is surely the favorites on this math-up and the return of Rooney will become a huge gap filler within the team. As long as they retain Carroll, England will become a force to be reckon with.
Striker Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the match at the 48th minute to give England a 1-0 victory over Ukraine to advance to the Euro Cup quarter finals.
England clinched Group D and will play Italy next Sunday in Kiev.
Ukraine looked like they tied the game at the 62nd minute when Marko Devic's looping shot crossed the line before it was hooked clear by John Terry. But the goal was missed by the referee and his extra assistant behind the goal.
The disputed play will likely add to the pressure on UEFA President Michel Platini to reverse his opposition to goal-line technology.
"I was sad because the ball was in the goal by one meter," Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said.
Rooney, who sat out his team's first two matches at Euro 2012, returned from suspension Tuesday and headed in the goal in the 48th.
Steven Gerrard whipped a dangerous cross into the penalty area that went past two defenders before Pyatov let it slip through his hands as he crouched to collect the ball. Rooney was at the far post and put England ahead.
"There was a lot of pressure on Wayne," Gerrard said. "But he stood up and when we needed him he was there."
It was Rooney's first goal at a major tournament since scoring four at Euro 2004 as an 18-year-old kid. He failed to find the net at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and England failed to even qualify for Euro 2008.
With the victory, England won Group D and will next face Italy in Kiev on Sunday. France also advanced, despite losing to Sweden 2-0 in the other group match. Ukraine, however, will have to watch the rest of the tournament as spectators, just like co-host Poland.
"No one believed in us at the start but we're gaining momentum at the right time," Gerrard said. "I don't think tonight's performance was fantastic, but we stuck together, got the job done and won 1-0 against a good team.
"We've been criticized in the past maybe for not turning up, underperforming, and we can take that. We're man enough. But you saw a reaction. When you get criticized it's not nice and you have to react by playing better and I think that's what we did."
England is now unbeaten in five matches under Roy Hodgson, who took over the team last month following Fabio Capello's resignation in February.
"Most people didn't think we'd get out of the group," Hodgson said. "We've won it on points instead of goal difference as well. This was an away game with a capital 'A'
"There were (50,000) people in and only 4,000 brave England fans. When we needed a bit of luck, when the ball may have crossed the line, we got a bit of luck and went on to win the match."
A draw wouldn't have helped Ukraine advance, but it would have given the team hope knowing that a victory was enough to put the co-hosts through to the quarterfinals.
Ukraine had never won at the Donbass Arena on four previous occasions, and failed to seize on its advantage when it mattered most.
With their fans dominating the crowd, the Ukrainians were in control from the outset, far more confident on the ball and containing England inside its own half, even with captain Andriy Shevchenko on the bench at the start due to a left knee injury.
But early efforts were from distance, with Denys Garmash and Yaroslav Rakitskiy striking over, while England midfielder Scott Parker had to throw his body into the path of Devic's low shot.
They were getting closer, though, and looking more even menacing going forward with Oleh Gusev getting into the penalty area and sending in a shot that just creep over Joe Hart's goal.
Before Rooney scored, England came close to testing Pyatov when Ashley Young sent in a low cross that was easily dealt with in the 11th minute.
As Ukraine attacked the England goal, Rooney was quiet in the first half of his first competitive match in more than a month until he sent a free header wide in the 28th from Young's cross.
At the 2010 World Cup, England midfielder Frank Lampard was denied a goal that would have leveled the match against Germany at 2-2. England ended up losing 4-1.
"To be successful you need a bit of luck," Gerrard said. "Two years ago we were unlucky with Frank Lampard and we had to pack our bags."
EURO 2012: Ukraine vs England Timeline
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