Monday, 11 June 2012

Euro 2012 result: England 1-1 France

Joleon Lescott scored his first international goal in England's 1-1 draw with France in Donetsk. The Manchester City defender nodded in Steven Gerrard's free kick to give them the lead before Samir Nasri levelled the scores with a low drive.

England started the better of the half with James Milner spurning a good chance after rounding French keeper Hugo Lloris, after an excellent through pass from Ashley Young. Moments later Joe Hart did well to get down to his left to stop a Yohan Cabaye effort from distance.

It was England though that opened the scoring with central defender Joleon Lescott heading in Steven Gerrard's set piece. Lescott nodded in past keeper Lloris after getting the better of Alou Diarra.

Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was given his second start in two games after impressing in training and against Belgium in the recent friendly. It was Chamberlain though that conceded a free kick on France's right moments later which gave France their next opportunity. Samir Nasri's free kick was headed towards goal by Diarra, who was brilliantly denied by Joe Hart and the midfielder then headed the rebound wide after Ribery had kept the ball alive.

It didn't take France long after to equalise with Manchester City winger Samir Nasri beating his club team mate Joe Hart from 25 yards striking the ball into the corner of the net. The goal came after good work on the left between Ribery and Patrice Evra.

The goal spurned life into the French who came close again with the impressive right back Mathieu Debuchy being denied at the near post by the legs of Hart.

The second half was a much different story with chances coming very rarely. Joe Hart was once again called upon saving low down to a long range strike from Karim Benzema. The Man City number one did well again after a short back pass from James Milner let in Samir Nasri who couldn't take advantage.

England's strong defensive unit stood firm throughout the remaining part of the second half with Scott Parker and Danny Welbeck doing well do block more long range efforts from the French.

Changes were made by both sides with Jordan Henderson replacing the tireless Scott Parker and Jermain Defoe coming on for young winger Chamberlain, while Hatem Ben Arfa and Marvin Martin were brought on by French boss Laurent Blanc.

Phillippe Mexes did well to cut out a James Milner cross with Danny Welbeck lurking behind, with this being the only attacking threat offered by England during the second half.

Steven Gerrard headed a curling Benzema effort out for a corner, and the Real Madrid striker was involved again soon after seeing his long range shot comfortably dealth with by Hart. Theo Walcott was introduced late on and despite some bizarre refereeing by Italian Nicola Rizzoli, who let a number of obvious fouls go, neither side could nick a winner.

Both teams will be content with a draw, but England may be concerned with their lack of being able to keep posseion for long periods of the game. France take on Ukraine on Friday whilst England will play their second group game against Sweden.


England: Hart, G.Johnson, Terry, Lescott, A.Cole, Oxlade Chamberlain (Defoe 77') Gerrard, Parker (Henderson 78') Milner, Young, Welbeck (Walcott 89')

France: Lloris, Debuchy, Evra, Mexes, Rami, Malouda (Martin 86') Diarra, Cabaye (Ben Arfa 86') Ribery, Benzema, Nasri

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

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