EURO 2012: France and England draw 1-1

France dominated England everywhere except on the

scoreboard.

The English held on for a 1-1 draw with France on Monday at the

European Championship, giving the Group D favorites one point each.

The French finished the match with 19 shots, 15 on target. England

managed only three toward net.

Joleon Lescott put England in the lead with a header in the 30th

minute, and Samir Nasri leveled for France shortly before halftime

with a strike into the bottom corner of the net.

France still has not won a match at a major tournament since the

2006 World Cup. The national team, however, is unbeaten in its last

22 matches.

”I think we have to be happy with that,” France coach Laurent

Blanc said. ”We were too timid at the start, there was a bit of

pressure that got to us, and then we got better actually after we

conceded the goal – that’s when we started playing.”

England took the lead when captain Steven Gerrard curled in a

free kick from the right after defender Patrice Evra fouled James

Milner. Lescott sneaked behind a defender and was able to nod the

ball past France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. It was England’s only

on-target shot.

”I think we played much better,” Evra said. ”In the end it

was a draw and we are a little bit frustrated. At times it was like

there were 15 bodies on the team at times.

”It was really difficult for us to find the space. They played

in the way that Chelsea played against Barcelona. People laugh.

Maybe they want England to play more football, but if they win the

tournament like that, they will be happy.”

France’s equalizer was all about one-touch football. Florent

Malouda, Evra and Franck Ribery flicked the ball around the left

side of England’s penalty area to free up space for Nasri, who put

in a low shot before England goalkeeper Joe Hart could react.

”The England defense was really low, so I had to take a shot,”

Nasri said. ”The weird thing is Joe Hart knows me from Manchester

City, and knows I normally I open my (instep), so this time I

closed it.”

After running away in celebration, television replays showed

Nasri shouting ”Shut your mouth,” in French as he looked in the

direction of the England bench. He then brought his finger to his

lips as if to tell someone to hush.

In the final seconds of the match, Hart pushed away Karim

Benzema’s goal-bound shot. Moments before, the Real Madrid

forward’s curling effort was heading for the top corner until it

was headed clear. Yohan Cabaye’s controlled shot in the 80th minute

also beat Hart but was deflected away just before it reached the

bottom corner.

”We’ll look at our performance and analyze what we’ve done

right and what we’ve done wrong,” Gerrard said. ”I think all in

all we’re satisfied with a point.”

In a strange atmosphere at the Donbass Arena, French fans

struggled to make themselves heard and England’s supporters were

sometimes drowned out by a large amount of fans chanting ”Russia,

Russia.”

England coach Roy Hodgson handed 18-year-old midfielder Alex

Oxlade-Chamberlain a surprise start – his third appearance for

England. And the English should have taken the lead in the 15th

when Milner ran onto Ashley Young’s perfectly weighted pass behind

the defense, got around Lloris, but then hit the side netting.

”Wayne Rooney showed all those years ago that if you’re good

enough, you’re old enough,” Gerrard said, referring to Rooney’s

impressive performances as an 18-year-old player at Euro 2004.

”Oxlade-Chamberlain showed tonight he is good enough for this

level.”