France dominated possession a very defensive minded Engladn in the first game but Laurent Blanc’s men still failed to impress. Tonight they have to face a Ukraine side buoyed by an opening win, secured by Andriy Shevchenko’s brace. Blanc will be demanding more from Les Bleus as defeat would leave them on the verge of a disastrous exit.
England need to be more positive against Sweden, who will be fighting for their survival after defeat to the Ukraine. The expectations on the England team has never been lower but they’ll be expected to show more than was on display against France.
Final Score – Ukraine 0 – 2 France
Final Score – England 3 – 2 Sweden
Full-Time: A good game for the neutrals and England deserved their win. Despite some less than convincing defending at time. They showed good spirit to come from behind having seen Sweden come from behind. Sweden join Ireland on the elimination list. It’s not spectacular stuff but Hodgson is doing a good job so far. A draw against Ukraine will be enough to see England in to the quarter-finals.
21.51: England break on the counter. Walcott dinks the ball in to Gerrard who hits it straight at Isaksson. He could and probably should have wrapped things up there.
21.49: Larsson has his studs up as he challenges Gerrard. Gerrard then whacks the ball a long way over from 30 yards.
21.47: Wellbeck is replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain.
21.45: Lescott flattens Rosenberg to give away a free-kick close to his own box. Carroll gets his head on it.
To score 6th goal: England 4/1, Sweden 4/1, No 6th goal 2/5
21.40: England break again, Wellbeck fails to control Gerrard’s pass and the opportunity fizzles out. Walcott looks to have pulled his calf muscle. Here comes the Ox!
21.38: Elmander is replaced by Rosenberg. England have their confidence back now. Could they grab a fourth or can Sweden get another equaliser? Elm goes off and Wilhelmsson replaces him.
21.36: Walcott does well to get free in the box and cross for Wellbeck. I’m not entirely convinced he meant that but his attempted control/shot with his back to goal ends up in the net. Brilliant if he meant it.
21.35: Goal!!! Wellbeck puts England ahead.
21.34: Olsson is terrorising England. The ball comes back to Ibrahimovic who cracks a shot which Hart pushes behind for a corner. Which Hart punches clear.
21.32: Martin Olsson makes a fool of Walcott and Johnson out wide. Olsson squares to Kallstrom but he fails to keep it down.
21.31: Young has free kick ten yards outside the Swedish box. He takes the shot. He hits it over.
21.23: Not sure what the goalkeeper saw there, he should have done better with that shot. As much as it may have swerved and dipped. Hodgson will be chuffed with his decision to bring Walcott on.
21.22: Goal!!! Walcott makes an instant impact with a shot that completely fools Isaksson.
21.21: Mellberg goes in to the book for a foul on Carroll. The resulting free is met by Terry, Isaksson manages to get the ball over the bar.
21.19: Walcott comes on for Milner as Hodgson looks to shake things up. An England corner comes to nothing and Sweden break. Ibrahimovic gets to within a few yeards of Hart’s goal before Johnson stops him.
Match Betting: England 9/1, Sweden 2/5, draw 13/5
21.17: Goal!!! A great ball in by Larsson, Mellberg gets on the end of it to nod it home unchallenged and Sweden come from behind to lead. Where was Hart on that one? What was Johnson doing?
21.16: We get our first yellow card. Milner hacks down Martin Olsson as he strides in to the England half. No complaints there.
21.14: Johnson recovers well to put in a last ditch challenge on Elm in the box.
Next goalscorer: Z Ibrahimovic 15/2, A Carroll 13/2
21.11: This is a much better game already. Both sides having a real go.
Match Betting: England 9/5, Sweden 13/5, Draw 5/4
21.06: Goal!!! Sweden start well and Carroll takes down Kallstrom on the edge of the box. He avoids a booking. Ibrahimovic takes it and fails to avoid the wall….the ball breaks in the box, Mellberg hits it towards goal and Johnson bundles it over the line.
21.05: The question was just asked who will miss out when Rooney returns. On what we’ve seen so far Wellbeck hasn’t done enough to retain his place.
Match Betting: England 3/10, Sweden 10/1, draw 10/3
21.03: The second-half kicks off. Can Sweden get themselves back in to this one?
20.47: Half-time! England are good value for their lead at the break but Ibrahimovic has started to grow in to the game. He’s Sweden’s biggest danger but he has yet to trouble Hart and I’m not convinced he has what it takes to be the leader Sweden need.
20.44: Wellbeck tries to take on five Swedish defenders after some good control on the half-way line, he gets to the edge of the penalty area before Mellberg gets a tackle in.
20.43: Milner overcooks his cross but he’s having a decent game and England are starting to string passes together.
20.42: Larsson flicks the ball for Elmander but Hart gets out quickly to gather the ball. Mellberg then fouls Carroll down the other end. He’s causing them a lot of problems.
20.40: Parker and Carroll are looking particularly good for England.
20.37: Some bizarre defending from Johnson gives the ball to Ibra. He lays off to Kallstrom, whose shot zips just over Hart’s bar.
20.36: Cole puts Young through but the United winger doesn’t look on form. He hesitates, makes the chance tougher and drags disappointingly wide. A good chance wasted.
20.35: Gerrard is looking dangerous going forward but Cole’s flick on isn’t accurate enough. Sweden then break and a good challenge from Terry stops Ibrahimovic in his tracks on the half-way line.
20.32: Wellbeck and Young are struggling to get in to this game. Ibrahimovic goes on a run forward, his deflected shot is gathered comfortably by Hart.
To score the next goal: England 11/10, Sweden 13/10
20.26 Sweden are looking for an immediate response. They’re being aided by some poor passes out of defence by Ashley Cole.
20.25: Gerrard puts a great ball in and Carroll smashes a header in from 12 yards, in to the bottom corner. Top quality finish that one.
20.24: Goal!! Andy Carroll puts England one up.
20.23: Ashley Cole yet to score for England. He has a shot which goes for a throw. That explains that one.
20.20: Terry is the latest England player to give the ball away. As with France they’re starting to invite Sweden on a little.
20.18: Larsson almost puts Ibrahimovic through but Johnson gets across well to clear the danger.
20.15: Carroll feeds the ball out wide to Milner. He puts a great cross in but Wellbeck fails to make the most of it, tamely glancing the ball wide. Should have done better.
20.13: Sweden are struggling to maintain possession. England are struggling to make the most of it. This game has yet to settle.
20.07: There are a lot of Swedish supporters in the stadium. They’re booing England’s patient play. Parker has a great shot from outside the box and pulls a good save from Isaksson. Already much more encouraging from the men in really dark blue.
20.05: England already look more positive in this game. Parker plays a poor pass but the space is there.
20.00: Kick off! And no lightning storm. That countdown still needs to end in fireworks at the very least.
19.58: The handshakes go off without any incidents. Which is always a relief.
19.56: A bit of booing during the England national anthem. I’m not so sensitive to such arbitrary protocol so the England fans should boo back. All’s fair.
19.54: A delay in the kick-off time here after the rain in Donetsk. The big news for England is Carroll starting up front with Wellbeck. Oxlade-Chamberlain drops to the bench. Hodgson clearly fancies his team will have more success going forward in this game.
01 Hart, 02 Johnson, 03 Cole, 06 Terry, 15 Lescott, 04 Gerrard, 11 Young, 16 Milner, 17 Parker, 09 Carroll, 22 Welbeck
01 Isaksson, 03 Mellberg, 04 Granqvist, 05 Mn Olsson, 13 Olsson, 06 Elm, 07 Larsson, 08 Svensson, 09 Kallstrom, 10 Ibrahimovic, 11 Elmander
There’s a lot of booing from the home fans as the final whistle is blown. France may just be warming up nicely. They won this one comfortably and without hitting top gear. Ukraine need to regroup, a win over England in their final game will put them through. A draw might yet be enough. France aren’t through yet but they have one foot in the next round. Benzema and Ribery looked good tonight.
19.44: England will be hoping this is the Ukraine side they face in their final game. First up they have Sweden to deal with.
19.41: Konoplienka has another shot. This one goes out for a throw. Nuff said.
19.39: Konoplienka gets a shot away but it’s blocked and loops harmlessly in to Lloris’ arms. France go down the other end and Tymoschuk fouls Martin. He picks up a yellow for his troubles. Nasri gets the free on target which Pyatov pushes over.
19.37: Ukraine look a beaten side. France are putting crosses in the box and shots over the bar.
19.35: Mexes gets booked for taking out Milevskiy on the edge of the French box. Aliev puts it well over. He argued with Shevchenko to take that. He won’t be taking the next one.
19.33: ten minutes to go and France are running down the clock. Giroud has a crack from distance which goes nowhere close.
19.31: Debuchy picks up a card for a barge on Konoplienka. The free goes backwards and France win it back.
19.29: France make another change. The impressive Benzema is replaced by the Arsenal bound Olivier Giroud.
19.25: Ribery wins a free-kick on the edge of the Ukraine box. He takes it…and it goes mighty close. After a decent game and a good goal Menez goes off for Martin.
19.24: Devich stumbles his through a couple of challenges. Gets close to the French box and scuffs his shot wide.
Next Goal: France 15/8, Ukraine 3/1
19.21: Ukraine are having a bit of a go now. They need a little more guile around the French box though. Cabaye appears to have a hamstrnig injury. Yann M’Vila comes on to replace him. Aliyev is on for Yarmolenko, who was poor tonight.
19.18: It’s all France and Cabaye cracks one off the outside of the post after a spell of possession on the edge of the Ukraine box.
19.16: That quick-fire brace has rocked the Ukraine. They need to regroup before this game is finished off with another French goal. Ribery threatens out wide again and wins a corner. It leads to nothing.
19.13: Nazarenko is replaced by front man Milevskiy for Ukraine.
19.11: This turn of events will only serve to make Shevchenko’s forthcoming hat-trick even more dramatic.
19.09: Good work from Benzema who threads a pass through to Cabaye. The Newcastle man smashes the ball across Pyatov in to the bottom corner.
19.09: Goal!! Cabaye puts France two up.
19.08: Selin goes in the book for a slightly late lunge on Rami.
19.07: Ribery goes on a run down the left, he passes it inside to Benzema who feeds it on to Menez. The winger cuts inside and beats Pyatov at the near post. A great move but against the run of play in the second half.
19.06: Goal!!! A great move finished off by Menez.
19.04: Again France are defending against a break. Rami is strong enough to ease Shevchenko off the ball but the hosts are on top right now.
19.03: Ukraine break again but one sloppy touch from Tymoschuk slows things down and he ends up blazing over.
19.02: The Ukraine break back immediately and Shevchenko smashes one just inches over from 20 yards.
19.01: Benzema threads a wonderful ball through for Menez. In on the keeper but Pyatov saves with his legs.
18.59: Ribery looks the one most likely to create something for France. He’s been the best player on the pitch so far.
18.58: Devic replaces the underwhelming Voronin. The 2nd half kicks off.
18.57: France were my dark(ish) horse ahead of this tournament. I’m not so sure right now. The talent is there but the belief doesn’t appear to be.
Half-time: France have been the dominant side for much of this game but as in their first game against England they’re struggling to make the break through. A couple of decent saves from Pyatov and some poorly executed finishes have played their part. The Ukraine need more from Voronin, who was excellent against Sweden, but Sheva is looking lively whenever the ball is played forward.
18.42: Menez puts in a late challenge on Selin. He’s lucky not to have been given his 2nd yellow card.
18.41: Benzema shows good strength out wide. He puts in a decent cross which no one was expecting because they didn’t bother trying to get on the end of it.
18.39: The statistic of France having the highest pass completion rate from the first round of games doesn’t really mean much. England did stand on their own 18 yard line allowing the French to pass the ball around unopposed.
18.37: Menez is booked for a soft foul on Shevchenko.
18.36: Nasri floats one in, Mexes makes good contact with his head and Pyatov pulls of a great save as the ball heads towards the top corner.
18.35: Ribery nuts Gusev. Gusev takes out Ribery. Free kick to France in a good position.
18.34: A lucky bounce leads to a Ukraine corner. Benzema hacks at the corner but gets away with it. Nazarenko wins another corner. Mexes heads clear.
18.32: Shevchenko missed a great chance against Sweden only to go on and score a brace. He’s 17/2 to score first now.
18.31: Shevchenko is put through on goal but Lloris stands strong and makes a good save,
18.29: Ribery isn’t too happy after skinning Gusev down the left wing. The Ukraine defender gets a touch as the ball goes for a corner. The ref gives a goal-kick.
To score the first goal: France 5/6, Ukraine 15/8
18.26: Voronin chases a French pass-back and has Lloris scrambling. Tymoschuk plays a poor ball and France are through. Menez has a great chance at the back post but Pyatov gets out quickly to make the save.
18.24: Tired of not getting the ball when he should, Benzema shoots when he shouldn’t. It goes straight at Pyatov but France are on top.
18.23: Ribery wins the ball off Nazarenko in the Ukraine box and sets up Menez, who side foots the ball over the top.
18.21: Yarmolenko creates a yard of space and gets a shot away from the edge of the box. Lloris had it covered and there was a better option open for him.
18.19: Ribery has started the game well. He’s looking sharp…as he gets dispossessed. Bloggers curse right there.
18.17: There are still some flashes of lightning cutting across the Donetsk sky. Flashes of good play are all we’re getting on the pitch so far.
18.15: The linesman down the Ukraine end has given some suspect off-side decisions against France. The men in yellow are playing a high and dangerous line.
18.14: Ribery plays a good ball through to Menez who slots it home expertly. Alas he was off-side.
18.13: Glichy puts a good ball in, Benzema can only nod the ball down…to no one.
18.12: Ukraine looking a little livelier as Shevchenko wins a free-kick off Mexes. They then give the ball straight back to France.
18.09: France have looked the stronger since the restart. They haven’t found that final pass yet but unless the Ukraine wake-up they’ll soon be behind in this game.
18.07: Debuchy has a shot from distance. Probably shouldn’t have bothered.
18.06: Nasri passes to Benzema in the box but the Real madrid runs into a wall of yellow players.
18.04: Voronin picks out the wrong pass and a promising Ukraine attack dies.
18.03: Benzema gets the first strike away after winning the ball out wide. It goes straight at Pyatov but he makes a meal of it. We’ll blame the rain on that one.
18.01: It’s impressive how quickly the pitch has drained after some apocalyptic weather conditions. Take 2, let’s go.
17.56: As Trapattoni works hard to explain Ireland’s first two performances, the ground staff in Donetsk have done some sterling work and the players are in the tunnel, ready to come back on.
17.51: Trapattoni is giving his press conference at the moment. I can’t say I fully grasp what he’s talking about.
17.42: The ground staff are out in force giving the grass a good aul stabbing. It looks like the pitch could be completely forked though. Boom! You can keep that one.
17.39: The rain has been downgraded from torrential to piddling down and there are positive vibes coming from the ground about the possibility of a restart. The game definitely won’t kick-off before 6pm. Which is still optimistic.
17.33: The rain is easing off but there’s so much water on the pitch that there’ll be a long wait before there’s any chance of the game resuming. The lads are still going at it on RTE. Entertaining stuff.
17.27: We’re getting an intelligent and reasoned discussion on media analysis of a football team’s fortunes from Dunphy and co on RTE. You don’t get this on ITV or BBC. Liam Brady has the hump again, which I’m finding more amusing than I probably should.
17.23: Things don’t seem to be getting much better as the rain continues to pour down. The pitch has a lot of surface water on it and Thor is still flexing his muscles.
17.16: It’s not looking too good at the moment as the electrical storm in Donetsk continues to cause serious problems. No word on when, or indeed if, the players will return to the pitch. At least it means I can pop off and grab a coffee.
17.07: Nobody knows exactly what is going on regarding how long the play will be suspended. Hopefully it’s just a shower.
17.05: The rain is causing problems here. In fact the referee has called off the game. Possibly due to the more dangerous lightning.
17.02: Some messing around at the back from Mexes causes some consternation Lloris keeps his head though.
17.01: It’s good to know we’re not the only ones suffering from the miserable summer weather.
16.59: Nothing to do with football but here’s the winner of the 2009 Ukraine’s Got Talent. Amazing. Or amaze-balls as kids and creepy older people on Twitter like to say.
16.57: There’s an electrical storm going on overhead in Donetsk. Will sparks fly on the pitch?
16.56: Shevchenko is looking in a good mood as the anthems play. He’s 10/1 to score first and 7/2 to score anytime.
16.53: Ukraine have yet to beat France in six attempts. But they’ve managed three draws from the four competitive clashes. Ukraine are 10/3 for their first win over Les Bleus.
16.46: If you don’t get RTE2 wherever you are then you’re missing out on some top quality bickering between Eamonn Dunphy and Liam Brady. None of your chummy, back-slapping in this studio.
16.43: Still getting over the disappointment of Ireland’s hammering at the hands of Spanish, it’s now time to look towards a new day’s games. Will we see more heroics from Shevchenko?
12 Pyatov, 02 Selin, 03 Khacheridi, 17 Mykhalyk, 04 Tymoschuk, 09 Gusev, 11 Yarmolenko, 18 Nazarenko, 19 Konoplienka, 07 Shevchenko, 10 Voronin
01 Lloris, 02 Debuchy, 04 Rami, 05 Mexes, 22 Clichy, 06 Cabaye, 11 Nasri, 18 Diarra, 07 Ribery, 10 Benzema, 14 Menez