England 1-0 Ukraine
By Dean Farley
Friday 22 Jun 2012 09:37:00
Browse all Dean Farley articles
 


Roy Hodgson's men continued their unbeaten streak with their new boss, as co-hosts Ukraine rocketed out of the competition.
    Oleh Blokhin, his players, his coaching staff and the Ukraine supporters will dwell over the extra officials behind the goal, as Marko Devic's shot was not given as a goal. The extra official was ideally placed to spot the ball crossing the line in an event that sparked the whole goal line technology debate again. 
    However, the 'goal that wasn't' will only mask what was a tooth-less performance by Ukraine. 
    The first half was rather promising. The co-hosts passed the ball well, kept possession and created a couple of chances. As everyone headed off the pitch at half-time, all looked rosy. They needed to win and they were in a solid position. However, they suffered for not having a more accomplished goalkeeper available and they suffered for two poor decisions. Andriy Pyatov has been a liability in all three games and was rightfully punished for failing to command his error.
    Wayne Rooney marked his England return with the goal that secured a place in Euro 2012's last eight. Rooney was far from his best during the game, but he got his goal and that is good enough for me. 
    England manager Roy Hodgson instantly restored Rooney after a two-match suspension in place of Andy Carroll with orders to make a belated mark on the campaign after sitting out the draw against France and victory against Sweden.     And after missing a simple header in the first half, the Manchester United striker ensured England topped Group D to set up a quarter-final meeting with Italy in Kiev on Sunday. 

    England would have played holders Spain on Saturday, but Sweden's 2-0 win over France meant that England topped the group and avoided the world and European champions.
    A lack of match sharpness was perhaps to blame for Rooney squandering England's best chance after 27 minutes. 
    It appeared he only had to make clean contact with Manchester United team-mate Ashley Young's cross to score but his far-post header lacked conviction and went tamely wide of keeper Andriy Pyatov's goal.
    However, Rooney made no mistake with his second headed opportunity, Steven Gerrard's delivery from the right once again the creative source. The cross took two deflections and slipped from the grasp of Pyatov for a simple far-post header from the Manchester United striker.
    Once again, Steven Gerrard got the superb assist to the goal, just like he did for Andy Carroll. I have been absolutely amazed by Gerrard's performances during this tournament. He is the catalyst for England; he gets everything and everyone going, and he is fully deserving of the England captaincy.
    England must perform to the best of their ability against Italy on Sunday. Hopefully we will, although, this is England we are talking about!



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