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  • Date:11 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:17:00
  • Venue:Donbass Arena - Donetsk
  • Samir Nasri (39)
  • Joleon Lescott (30)

Live Commentary


Benzema tries his luck from distance. The shot bounces just in front of Hart but he gathers the loose ball.


That's full-time.


It's honours even and that's just about the right result. France dominated possession but didn't work Hart enough. The French will claim England only played for a draw and that probably isn't far from the truth, so Hodgson's men should be happy with their point.


France are trying to work a way through England's stubborn rearguard, but they can't find the final ball.


We are into stoppage-time. Can either side summon the energy to snatch a winner?


French supporters jeer as Hart takes his time restarting play.


Walcott comes on for Welbeck.


Mexes has to make a crucial block to turn away Milner's cross as Welbeck prepares to shoot.


Theo Walcott is ready to come on for England.


Gerrard has to head clear for a corner as Benzema tries to bend one into the top corner.


Blanc makes a double change as he sends on Hatem Ben Arfa for Cabaye and Marvin Martin for Malouda.


Defoe is involved for the first time as he runs onto Gerrard's headed pass, but he can't get the ball through to Welbeck and the move breaks down.


Cabaye's shot from the edge of the area is goalbound with Hart looking beaten, but Welbeck sticks out a leg to deflect it for a corner.


Ribery has been a little too inconsistent so far today, but he surges away down the right and forces Hart to save low down at his near post.


Hodgson makes his second change, with Jordan Henderson sent on for Parker, who has looked tired in the last few minutes.


Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe comes on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who made a decent fist of his first appearance at a major tournament.


Johnson provides terrific cover to intercept as Benzema tries to run onto a through ball.


England about to make their first substitution.


Young goes into the book for a needless foul on Benzema.


England putting their bodies on the line and Scott Parker makes a great block to stop Florent Malouda's shot getting anywhere near goal.


Ashley Cole heads Evra's cross away for a corner with Benzema lurking, but France can't make anything of the set-piece.


Johnson follows Debuchy's example and gets forward from right-back. His shot is woeful though and flies high over the bar.


Benzema bring a comfortable save from Hart with a fierce low shot from 25 yards after Nasri flicks a pass into the Real Madrid striker's path.


Ribery is soon back on his feet and nothing comes of England's corner.


Ribery is down after a tackle, but England play on, frustrating the French and forcing a corner in the process.


Mathieu Debuchy is getting forward impressively and it takes a solid challenge from Lescott to halt another rampaging run from the French right-back.


England have done enough to stop France establishing any momentum so far in the second half. They are frustrated going forward though as Ribery clearly fouls Johnson on the right., but no foul is given.


Gerrard does some good work in his own penalty area this time, nipping in to clear after Ribery and Patrice Evra exposed England down the left flank.


England enjoy one of their best spells of possession, but when Gerrard tumbles under pressure just outside the area, referee Nicola Rizzoli waves play on.


A poor corner from Gerrard there. That's disappointing from the England captain after his superb ball in for Lescott's goal.


Milner puts Hart in trouble with a weak backpass, but the England goalkeeper does well to avert the danger, blocking with his legs before Nasri can pounce.


That's half-time. All to play for after the break. France look the better side but England are hanging on doggedly.


Benzema plays a lovely one-two with Ribery and drives in a low shot from a tight angle. Hart saves with his legs but England can't wait for the half-time whistle.


England are struggling to get a foot-hold here. France win another corner and Hart has to punch clear.


France finishing the half strongly, with Nasri and Ribery probing for openings behind England right-back Glen Johnson, who has been known to be caught out of position in the past.


Nasri made a really good connection with his shot, but Hart might be a little frustrated that he was beaten at his near post after getting a hand to the ball. France deserve credit for such a rapid response to the opener though. England paid the price for defending so deeply.


Nasri fires France level with a powerful strike from 25 yards.


Goal for France!


France will be so disappointed with their defending for that goal. Lescott was allowed to get in far too easily. They need to regroup quickly after a spluttering start.


Hart makes a brilliant stop to keep out a bullet header from Diarra. who then hooks another chance just wide of the far post after Ribery nods the rebound back into the six-yard box.


England's conservative game-plan has come up trumps so far. They have frustrated the French and nicked a goal from a set-piece. It's not pretty, but certainly effective.


It's Lescott's first England goal in his 17th appearance. What a time to get it.


Gerrard whipped over a superb free-kick there to pick out Lescott at the far post. Lescott timed his run to escape Alou Diarra and Lloris had no chance with such a powerful header from that range.


Lescott puts England ahead with a header from Steven Gerrard's free-kick.


Goal for England!


Mexes does well to keep up with Welbeck and win the tackle when the England striker gets up a head of steam down the right flank.


When France are in possession, England's midfield often drops right back to the edge of their own penalty area, with the defenders even deeper. Blanc's side are struggling to find a way through the massed ranks at present.


Welbeck needs treatment after Rami lands on his ankle when the pair contest an aerial challenge. The young England striker is ok to continue.


Yohan Cabaye forces the first save from Hart with a long-range effort. It's dealt with comfortably by the Manchester City keeper.


Oxlade-Chamberlain looks lively though and he surges between two French players before playing a pass just too late for Young, who is caught offside.


The heat is definitely a factor here. The game is being played at a fairly slow pace as both teams try to conserve some energy.


That was the first really incisive move from England and it came when Young got on the ball inbetween the French midfield and defence. They must get the Manchester United man involved more often.


Great chance squandered by England. Young slips a superb defence-splitting pass to Milner, who times his run to go round Hugo Lloris, but takes a heavy touch in the process. The Manchester City winger tries to scoop his shot goalwards, but the angle is too tight and it drifts wide.


Nasri lashes a shot just wide as France begin to find their rhythm. As expected, England's primary goal at the moment seems to be concentrating on frustrating Blanc's team.


Joe Hart makes a hash of collecting a cross, but the England goalkeeper's blushes are spared as the loose ball is cleared. Maybe a sign of nerves there.


Both sides giving possession away a bit too easily so far. The pitch, dried by the intense heat, looks a bit bobbly in places and that isn't helping.


Ashley Cole has been in superb form in recent months, but Nasri gets past him there and draws a foul from the England left-back. Again France can't make anything of their set-piece delivery from the resulting free-kick.


First sign of France as an attacking force. They win the opening corner after Benzema causes panic in the England defence, but Welbeck heads clear from the set-piece.


Welbeck and Ashley Young link up for the first time, but the former is caught offside as he looks to burst into the penalty area.

England try to use Oxlade-Chamberlain's pace immediately, but not even the jet-heeled winger can reach that over-hit pass.

It's England who get us underway.

That's the anthems out of the way and now we're just moments away from kick-off.

It's time for the national anthems, with England first up.

England were only expected to bring around 3,000 fans to the Ukraine, but there seem to be many more than that. They certainly out-number their French counterparts.

The players are in the tunnel and there's a good atmosphere building in the 50,055-capacity Donbass Arena.

There's been plenty of talk about the weather in Donetsk, with temperatures expected to be close to 90F in south-eastern Ukraine today. France, who have been based in the area, have used 'cryo jackets' filled with ice to cool down during training. That extra acclimatisation time could be vital as England have been based in the slightly cooler climate of Krakow in Poland.

England: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Welbeck. Subs: Green, Walcott, Henderson, Carroll, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Defoe, Butland.

France: Lloris, Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Evra, Nasri, Cabaye, Diarra, Malouda, Ribery, Benzema. Subs: Mandanda, Giroud, Matuidi, Reveillere, Menez, M'Vila, Martin, Ben Arfa, Valbuena, Clichy, Koscielny, Carrasso.

France, who beat England 2-1 at Wembley in their last meeting in 2010, can call on a strong forward line featuring Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri. Their defence has been more of a concern though, with centre-backs Philipp Mexes and Adil Rami the supposed weak link.

The rest of the England team is as expected, with Joleon Lescott deputising for Cahill in central defence. Danny Welbeck will lead the attack after winning his selection battle with Andy Carroll.

Hodgson, who only told his players the team at lunchtime today, has taken a gamble by including Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his starting line-up. It's just the 18-year-old's second start for England after he showed glimpses of his potential in a 1-0 friendly win over Belgium last month. He is the third youngest player to represent England at a major tournament. "He deserves to start the game from what he's shown us," Hodgson said in an interview just moments ago.

But Domenech's replacement Laurent Blanc has steadied the ship so impressively that France, who are on a 21-match unbeaten run, are now regarded as contenders for the Euro title. They qualified as group winners after a tense draw with second placed Bosnia in their last match and looked in ominious mood in a 4-0 win over Estonia in their final pre-tournament friendly.

In contrast to England, France, Euro winners in 2000 and 1984, have completely shrugged off the misery of their own 2010 World Cup nightmare. The French squad, who crashed out in the group stages after failing to win a game, were labelled a national disgrace after several players became embroiled a series of rows with then coach Raymond Domenech.

England's long record of underachievement at tournaments has always seems especially noticable at the European Championships. They have only reached the semi-finals twice, losing on both occasions in 1968 and 1996.

However, Hodgson has been working hard to instill a sense of belief in his players and they have responded well enough so far, with friendly wins over Norway and Belgium showing that England should at least be hard to breakdown under their new manager.

With a dismal 2010 World Cup campaign under Fabio Capello still fresh in the memory, for once England arrive at a major tournament with few expectations and little hype. Morale hasn't been helped by the injuries that have seriously disrupted Hodgson's preparations, robbing him of Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry, Gary Cahill and Kyle Walker, while star striker Wayne Rooney is suspended for the first two Group D matches.

After just 40 days in charge, England manager Roy Hodgson knows what passed for his honeymoon period is over. He wasn't the first choice of many fans and pundits and will be savaged if England crash out early. But if his team can beat France today and have a good tournament, he will be the toast of the nation.

Hello and welcome to day four of our live updates from Euro 2012. Today it's the first fixtures in Group D and we start with one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of the first stage. It's 'Le Crunch' between France and England in Donetsk.

France kick off looking to maintain the impressive tempo they showed at the end of the first half.

The teams are back out on the pitch and the second half will be underway shortly.

**Provisional teams until kick-off


  • Laurent Blanc Coach
  • Hugo Lloris Goal
  • Matthieu Debuchy Defender
  • Adil Rami Defender
  • Philippe Mexes Defender
  • Patrice Evra Defender
  • Samir Nasri Midfielder
  • Yohan Cabaye Midfielder
  • Alou Diarra Midfielder
  • Florent Malouda Midfielder
  • Franck Ribery Midfielder
  • Karim Benzema Forward
  • Steve Mandanda Substitute
  • Cedric Carrasso Substitute
  • Mathieu Valbuena Substitute
  • Olivier Giroud Substitute
  • Blaise Matuidi Substitute
  • Anthony Reveillere Substitute
  • Jeremy Menez Substitute
  • Yann Mvila Substitute
  • Laurent Koscielny Substitute
  • Gael Clichy Substitute
  • Hatem Ben Arfa
  • Marvin Martin


  • Roy Hodgson Coach
  • Joe Hart Goal
  • Glen Johnson Defender
  • John Terry Defender
  • Joleon Lescott Defender
  • Ashley Cole Defender
  • James Milner Midfielder
  • Steven Gerrard Midfielder
  • Ashley Young Midfielder
  • Scott Parker Midfielder
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Midfielder
  • Daniel Welbeck Forward
  • Robert Green Substitute
  • Jack Butland Substitute
  • Andrew Carroll Substitute
  • Leighton Baines Substitute
  • Phil Jones Substitute
  • Phil Jagielka Substitute
  • Stewart Downing Substitute
  • Jermain Defoe Substitute who played
  • Jordan Henderson Substitute who played
  • Theo Walcott Substitute who played

Match Report

Honours even as France held by England
France came from behind to force a 1-1 draw with England on Monday as a cagey between the Group D rivals ended in a stalemate in Donetsk.
Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott headed England into a 30th-minute lead to leave Roy Hodgson's men dreaming of the perfect start to their campaign on a sweltering night at the Donbass Arena.
But Lescott's City team-mate Samir Nasri struck back with a 39th-minute equaliser, lashing a low shot from outside the area to give France a share of the points and extend Les Bleus unbeaten run to 22 games.
A cagey opening period saw both sides begin cautiously, and it was 11 minutes before anyone got a shot on goal with Nasri's low shot flying just wide of Manchester City team-mate Hart's post.
Yet England seemed far from cowed by the occasion, and should have taken the lead four minutes later after Ashley Young slipped in James Milner with a lovely through pass that caught France square.
The Manchester City midfielder rounded Hugo Lloris with his first touch but then failed to find the net from a tight angle.
Moments later Yohan Cabaye tested Hart from long range, the City keeper diving to his left to stop his low strike.
Meanwhile Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a surprise starter on the left side of midfield ahead of Stewart Downing, enjoyed a confident start, dispossessing Adil Rami early on and producing one memorable jinking run.
England's bright opening yielded its reward on 30 minutes with the breakthrough coming from a setpiece.
Captain Steven Gerrard swung in a pinpoint free-kick from the right flank and Lescott took advantage of acres of space afforded him by Alou Diarra to head past Lloris from close range.
Yet the England goal was the cue for a period of dominance from France which lasted until the half-time whistle.
Nasri strike makes a point
Diarra almost made immediate amends with a header of his own, Hart parrying high after the defensive midfielder met Nasri's pinpoint freekick.
In the ensuing scramble Franck Ribery headed back across goal but Diarra's second effort went wide.
A French equaliser seemed on though and it arrived through Nasri six minutes from half-time, the forward taking advantage of an English side standing too deep to squeeze a ferocious shot just inside Hart's post.
England seemed content to slow the pace of the game in the second half, and passed confident without ever threatening France.
Gradually however France's superior technique began to tell, and England spent long periods of the closing minutes on the back foot.
Real Madrid Karim Benzema, well shackled by Scott Parker for much of the match, forced a fine low save from Hart on 65 minutes.
Benzema, who had drawn a booking for Ashley Young on 71 minutes then went close again, curling a shot goalwards which Gerrard headed behind for a corner.
But though England seemed to be tiring rapidly in the final stages, France were unable to find the winner as the match wound down, with Benzema's late strike parried by Joe Hart.
England will face Sweden in Kiev on Friday in their second game while France
face Sweden in Donetsk.





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