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Euro 2012: Live group D blog

by Rob Dore | June 11, 2012

After the bitter disappointment of Poznan last night, our attention now turns to England’s attempt to get off to a winning start against France in Group D from 5pm. Both sides are talking down their chances but both sides have the quality in their squads to go all the way in Poland and Ukraine. Later on we’ll be covering Ukraine v Sweden from 7.45pm. Both of these sides like to play in yellow. Join in by commenting below or get involved in the banter on Twitter.

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Final Score: Ukraine 2 – 1 Sweden

Full-Time: Ukraine hold on for a deserved win, despite some late chances for Sweden. Ibrahimovic opened the scoring but two goals from the Kiev born Shevchenko but Ukraine on the top of the group. Clearly buoyed by the home support, could Ukraine be the dark horse of this tournament? We shall have to wait and see.

9.37pm: Elm floats a lovely ball over the top but it drops to defender Mellberg. He scuffs it and still comes close. Just over the bar.

9.34pm: Elmander has a great chance after a wonderful flick on from Ibrahimovic. The former Bolton man snatches at it and puts it over the bar with just the keeper to beat. He may well have blown Sweden’s last chance.

9.30pm: 5 minutes to go. Can Sweden snatch an equaliser? The draw is now 6/1.

9.29pm: Voronin goes off to a less enthusiastic ovation, but he gets one none the less. He’s replaced by a 12-year old boy.

9.27pm: Voronin looks all types of classy tonight as he takes the ball forward only to be tripped by Rasmus Elm outside the Swedish box. Elm goes in the book.

9.26pm: Shevchenko departs to a standing ovation. He deserves every clap he gets tonight. Vintage stuff but has he secured all three points?

9.21pm: Just as I say that Ibrahimovic cracks one on target. The Swedish number 10 is the 11/2 favourite to score next.

9.21pm: Andriy Shevchenko was 90/1 to score a hat-trick before kick-off. He’s now 8/1 to score the next goal.

9.14pm: Looking at the replay of Ukraine’s second goal it’s clear Ibrahimovic is at least partially responsible for allowing Shevchenko get his head to the ball. That’s good enough for me.

Tweet: I expect the Ukraine to fade here & it could be a great opportunity for Sweden to seize the initiative in the group – Eamon Dunphy ‏@Dunphy_Official

Dunphy shared this unerringly accurate insight about 20 minutes ago.

9.06pm: Goal!!!! Who the hell else could it be? Shevchenko scores a second in front of a joyous home crowd. Running to the near post as the corner comes in and arrowing a header in to the back of the net.

Ukraine 13/8 to score the third goal.

9.03pm: Ukraine are going for it now and are looking the more likely to score again.

9.02pm: He may not have impressed during his spell in the Premier League but Shevchenko is still one of the great goalscorers. Great movement and a nerveless finish for the Ukrainian hero.

8.59pm: Goal!!! Who else indeed? Shevchenko equalises instantly as he nods home a cross of his own. The crowd go wild.

Price Update: Ukraine 15/2, Sweden 4/9, Draw 3/1

8.56pm: Goal! He’s made an art of standing still on the pitch and that’s pretty much how he gets his goal. Ukraine are all over the place at the back and Ibrahimovic slots home a cross from six yards. Good finish. Still not a fan.

8.50pm: The second-half kkicks off. All this game needs is a few goals. 0-0 draw is 11/5.

Tweet: Ibrahimovic has played 24 mins of #EURO2012 and allready he looks like the best player there.! – Peter Schmeichel. (@Pschmeichel1)

Now we know why Schmeichel’s nose shines so bright. Someone has been on the sauce today. Ibrahimovic hasn’t been bad but he’s a long way short of being the best in the world.

Half-Time: A decent game in which Ukraine have looked the more dangerous side.

8.29pm: Konoplianka has a half chance at the back post following a good cross from Gusev but he volleys over the top.

8.27pm: Ibrahimovic has a great chance but he heads it across the goal. Skimming the outside of the post. Best game of the day this one.

8.25pm: Ukraine come close…several times. Melborg makes a crucial block on Shevchenko. Voronin involved again.

8.23pm: Voronin then gets back to stop Ibrhimovic’s run in the Ukraine box.

8.21pm: Another even game this one. A lot more chances though as Voronin smashes one in from 30 yards, forcing the keeper to palm it away. Ukraine have been the better side so far.

Shevchenko is 15/2 to score next. Voronin is 9/1.

8.13pm: And Voronin shows his Liverpool form by not even getting a touch on a dangerous ball in to the box.

8.05pm: Shevchenko showed some Chelsea form there as he drags one past the post from a good position.

8.01pm: Rasmus Elm follows Sebastien Larsson with a shoddy free-kick of his own from a promising area.

7.58pm: Kallstrom goes in the book for a late challenge on Gusev. Before that Ibrahimovic is stunned the Ukraine defenders didn’t let him score. The bloody cheek of them.

7.54pm: Ukraine have started the stronger as the camera indulges in a little talent spotting in the crowd. When caught he quickly switches to some non-female support.

7.51pm: Andriy Voronin looks a lot less like a porn-star now he’s had his hair chopped.

7.48pm: Kick-off. Ibrahimovic will be seen as the main man in this game. We’re not big fans here on the Paddy Power Blog. He’ll probably score a hat-trick now.

7.42pm: Next up we have Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine. After the draw in the first game one of these sides can go to the top of the table with a win. An obvious point I know but you have to feel if either of these are to go through to the knock-out round they’ll need to win tonight.

Teams:
Ukraine
Pyatov, Gusev, Mykhalyk, Khacheridi, Selin, Yarmolenko, Tymoschuk, Konoplianka, Nazarenko, Voronin, Shevchenko.

Sweden
Isaksson, Lustig, Mellberg, Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Elm, Kallstrom, Larsson, Ibrahimovic, Toivonen, Rosenberg.

Referee
Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

———————–

Final Score: England 1-1 France

Quotes:

Steven Gerrard, England Captain: “I thought we caused them as many problems as they caused us. It’s great to get off the mark points wise. All in all we have to be satisfied with a draw.

Roy Hodgson, England Manager: “Oxide-Chamberlain did quite well and was quite dangerous at times. Overall I thought it was a very good team performance against one of the side’s that are fancied to win the tournament. Everyone is fit for the next game.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: “I though we stuck with them and outplayed them at times. A good result, we looked for the win but we’re happy with the draw.”

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Full-Time: An underwhelming game ends in a draw. France looked the better going forward and enjoyed more possession but with England happy to sit back on the edge of their own box for most of the game that’s what happens. Neither side impressed but a draw is never a bad way to start.

6.47pm: Walcott on for Wellbeck. A draw will do it seems.

6.46pm: A good ball in by Milner requires a last ditch clearance. The resulting corner comes to nothing.

6.43pm: Gerrard gets a good block to a Benzema curling shot. France look the more likely to get a winner.

6.42pm: Martin and Ben Arfa on for Malouda and Cabaye.

Price Update: England 7/1, France 9/2 and the draw is now 2/7.

6.37pm: Newcastle’s Cabaye goes close as Wellbeck gets a block in. England look to be tiring a little.

Henderson 50/1 for the next goal and Defoe is 11/1.

6.33pm: Jermaine Defoe on for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson on for a tiring looking Parker.

6.32pm: There’s the occasional moment of exciting action but quality wise this isn’t the best of games.

6.28pm: There’s a touch of a training ground game to this. England happy to sit back and allow France to play in front of them. Changes are on the way.

6.27pm: Ashley Young follows Oxlade-Chamberlain in to the book after a late challenge on Benzema.

6.25pm: From some of England’s inter-play you’d swear they’d only played a couple of games under Roy Hodgson.

6.22pm: Having cut in and scored with his left foot for Liverpool once, Glen Johnson tries it for the thousandth time since and pings it over the bar.

6.21pm: Benzema whips one in from distance. It rouses the French fans but Harte was comfortably behind it.

6.19pm: England clearly going all out for the win. As Gerrard took a corner there were only four England players in the box and one of them was Ashley Young.

6.15pm: Very back-and-forth this one. Both sides enjoying truncated spells in the opposition’s half.

6.11pm: Only for Lescott to give possession away. France look the more dangerous when they get around England’s box.

6.10pm: England are starting to take the upperhand in this game, retaining possession better.

6.08pm: Apparently atmosphere in the ground is rubbish because the England supporters band has been banned in the Ukraine.

6.04pm: Ashley Young and Franck Ribery both 10/1 to score the next goal.

Tweet: “If England don’t keep the ball better and close down the French in the 2nd half. They will lose this game mark my words.” @ Joey7Barton.

He’s not wrong and yet I can’t help waning to abuse him whenever he says something.

6.01pm: Will it be more of the same from England in the second half? They could start to struggle if there hasn’t been a tweak in tactics.

Opta Stat: Passing in the first half – France 88 (76 successful), England 41 (23 successful). Tells a story right there. England need to keep better possession. It’s not like they’re Ireland.

5.57pm: Was Lescott the first Manchester City player to score at a European Championships? Was Nasri the second. Our stats monkeys are on the job.

Tweet: “Debuchy been the best attacking player on the pitch…looks a quality player him…Nasri been probing + quality goal…Hart our best.” – Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5)

Look-a-like time:

Tweet: “It was a superbly taken goal. Joe Hart doesn’t see it. But look how deep England are. From their point of view the centre-backs need to push them on. They are sitting far too deep.” – Mark Lawrenson.

Lawro actually makes a bit of sense there. England need to play further up the pitch.

Half-time: Things are all square but after some early back-and-forth flirting, France end the half very much in the ascendency. Roy needs to do some work during the interval.

5.46pm: Joe Hart looking uncomfortable under crosses but gets out to close down Benzema as he bears down on goal. The French are gaining control of this game.

Tweet: “Nasri ‘shush’ gesture at England bench after his equaliser. Seemed to be aimed in Gary Neville’s direction.” – says ‏@_PaulHayward, the Telegraph’s chief sports writer.

5.42pm: England on the back foot as they fail to maintain possession and France camp themselves outside the England box.

5.39pm: Goal!!! Joe Harte can’t get down in time as Nasri beats him from distance. The keeper was unsighted there.

Lescott was 40/1 for first goalscorer. He’s now 33/1 to score the next goal.

5.35pm: A good save from Harte as France look to hit back.

Tweet: “Jolean Lescott for BBC Sports Personality of the year” @GaryLineker. Tool.

5.30pm: Goal!!! Joleon Lescott scores to put England ahead. A cracking free-kick from Gerrard and Lescott gets up above Diarra to nod in.

5.26pm: England look solid enough but neither side has managed to take any real control of this game.

Tweet: “Rule 17b, when you go past the goalkeeper always aim beyond the far post.” – Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker)
Some not particularly useful advice from the former England striker.

5.22pm: Danny Wellbeck goes down with an ankle injury. Hodgson will be hoping the magic sponge does its job

5.20pm: Oxlade-Chamberlain has been a real live wire. France may not know too much about the Arsenal man and he’s making the most of any freedom he gets.

5.19pm: “What a chance-get the ball into the forwards mexes is a disaster waiting to happen!!” tweeted Phil Neville (@fizzer18)
A term involving glass houses and stone-throwing comes to mind.

5.16pm: Cabaye stings the palms of Harte from distance.

5.14pm: Milner has a great chance as he’s put through by Young. Rounds Lloris but can’t get a shot on target. The first big chance of the game.

5.11pm: Joe Harte suffers a touch of the Greens/James/Fosters as he lets a cross slip through his fingers under no pressure. He then watches a Nasri shot zip past the post. He had that one covered though.

5.10pm: A little cagey so far. France have had more of the ball but England look comfortable enough in defence.

5.05pm: Benzema causes a little panic in the box to win a corner as France pass their way forward. It comes to nothing.

5.04pm: A lot of empty seats in the stadium in Donetsk.

5.00pm: Kick-off.

4.56pm: The only person in England who didn’t sing along with the anthem there was Prince Charles. How long does he have to wait?

4.52pm: England are 9/4 to beat France, something they haven’t managed in their last five meetings with Les Bleus.

4.47pm: An interesting line-up from Hodgson. An attacking three capable of switching positions could cause a lot of problems to the French defence, which is the weakest area of their team.

4.43pm: No Andy Carroll in the starting line-up but Oxlade-Chamberlain gets the nod ahead of Downing. As a Liverpool fan I whole heartedly agree with that one.

Teams:

France
Lloris, Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Evra, Nasri, Cabaye, Diarra, Malouda, Ribery, Benzema.

England
Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Welbeck.

Referee
Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

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