France and England draw 1-1 at Euro 2012
England held on for a 1-1 draw with France on Monday at the
European Championship, giving the Group D favorites one point
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.
The draw means France has still 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 Patrice Evra had fouled James
Milner, and Lescott was able to nod the ball past France goalkeeper
France’s equalizer was all about one-touch football as 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.
After running away in celebration, television replays showed
Nasri had shouted ”Ferme ta geule,” or ”Shut your mouth,” 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 strike. Moments before, the Real Madrid
forward’s curling effort was heading for the top corner until it
was headed clear, and Yohan Cabaye’s controlled shot in the 80th
minute beat Hart but was deflected away just before it reached the
”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,
The French finished the match with 19 shots, 15 of them on
target. England managed only three, and only one on target.
”In the second half, I think we could have scored a second
goal,” Blanc said. ”But overall, I think it’s a fair draw for
Hodgson handed 18-year-old midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a
surprise start – his third appearance for England.
”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. He’s still got a lot of learning to do, but playing with
experienced players he’ll pick that up.”
England 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.
France will next face co-host Ukraine on Friday while England
France: Hugo Lloris, Mathieu Debuchy, Adil Rami, Philippe Mexes,
Patrice Evra, Yohan Cabaye (Hatem Ben Afra, 84) Alou Diarra,
Florent Malouda (Marvin Martin, 85), Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema,
England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Joleon Lescott,
Ashley Cole, James Milner, Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker (Jordan
Henderson, 78), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Jermin Defoe, 77), Ashley
Young, Danny Welbeck (Theo Walcott, 90).