Useless Ukraine, efficient England – analysis of day 12 at Euro 2012

The final day of group games have finally came around at Euro 2012 and the main game of the day was Ukraine vs England at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk. England were looking to capitalise on their end to end victory over Sweden on Friday evening knowing even just a point would send them through to the next round. The co-hosts knew that only a win would put them into the next round as they aimed to avoid the fate that their other co-hosts Poland suffered on Saturday.

Wayne Rooney fires England into the quarter finals

The biggest change for England was the return of Wayne Rooney from suspension. Roy Hodgson decided to drop the in-form Andy Carroll from the starting line up. Playing Welbeck and Rooney would have been understandable if the Ukrainians were to play a high line but their line of defence is usually quite deep. Maybe Carroll could have troubled it more?

The game started off at a frantic pace with the home side pressing early on. England seemed to set up like Hodgson had his previous clubs set up; two banks of four and surrender possession in order to catch teams cold on the counter attack and set pieces. Ukraine created little chances but the chances they had were made by Yarmalenko. He was troubling Ashley Cole on England’s left side and he should have scored when he cut in from the left late in the first half. Perhaps the best chance fell to Wayne Rooney who had a free header at the back post. The ball came in from Ashley Young but he headed it all wrong and it flew wide.

The second half started differently to the first. England came out and controlled the game, and the killer blow came three minutes into the second half. Steven Gerrard’s delivery has been superb all tournament long and in the first half he had the Ukrainian goalkeeper flapping at crosses. However, this time it was one too many. The deflected cross reached Wayne Rooney at the back post and he had a simple tap in.

Ukraine had to respond, and they did. England dropped deep again. Nazarenko came on for the co-hosts as they began to look for the two goals they needed to qualify. The biggest controversy came around the 65th minute when Marco Devic was released down the middle. He shot and the ball squirmed through Joe Hart. John Terry lunged to clear. The ball was over the line and England eventually saw the game out.

They will face Italy in the next round and you would think that they will have to improve to beat the Azzuri. Andrea Pirlo has been in exceptional form so far in this tournament and if the space that England gave Ukraine is afforded to Pirlo and co., they will surely wreak havock. If England are to succeed, they should be looking to put an extra man in midfield to match the Italians. Either way, it has the potential to be a cracker.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to bring you an analysis of the game between France and Sweden. The scoreline finished 2-0 to Sweden which meant England topped the group on 7 points. This also means France will play world champions Spain in the next round which is probably the standout tie of the round.


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