England drew 1-1 with France in the Ukraine today, after taking the lead in the first half.
Yohan Cabaye challenges Danny Welbeck
And we’re sure Roy Hodgson and the England players would have taken that before this game, in which the England defense looked strong and well organized.
England went ahead through Jolean Lescott after 30 minutes with a nice header from the Manchester City center-back, but nine minutes later it was Samir Nasri who equalized for France, and the opposition had much of the ball tonight, with England defending for large portions of this game.
The game started with each side carefully probing at the opposition, and then after 15 minutes former Newcastle winger should really have scored, when a great through pass saw him round the goalkeeper, but he hit his shot wide of a gaping goal – a bad miss by the England winger, who has never scored an International goal for England.
Then a few minutes later Yohan Cabaye, who was looking good in midfield for France, had an excellent shot that goalkeeper Joe Hart had to save well, low to his left.
And then England went ahead after 30 minutes, and they seemed to show the weakness of France’s central defense, and a perfect cross from captain Steven Gerrard from a free-kick, was headed in by Jolean Lescott from just four yards out – a bad goal for France to concede.
And now could England maintain their lead, and after 35 minutes Joe Hart made fantastic save from a header from Diarra, and then in the follow-up Diarra headed the ball wide, when he really should have scored.
But after 39 minutes France were level, and it was another Manchester City player – this time Samir Nasri – who scored.
Samir got the ball about 30 yards out, but the England defenders were slow to close him down, and his shot beat Joe Hart low to his right – but it looked like Hart should have done better, although he may have been unsighted.
Jolean Lescott heads in Steven Gerrard cross from four yards out
At the half it was 1-1, with France starting to come more into the game and attacking England, and the England players playing too deep.
There were no changes made at the start of the second half, and on 49 minutes James Milner gave a suicidal pass back to Joe Hart, who just got to the ball ahead of an intervening French player – a bit of a let-off for England.
On 65 minutes the ever dangerous Benzema had a good shot on goal, which Joe Hart saved well down to his right, but at this stage France had been out-shooting England by 11 -2, which gives you an idea about who was trying to win this game and who were trying not to lose it.
On 77 minutes Hodgson made a double change, with Jermain Defoe coming on for Oxlade-Chamnberlain who had done quite well, and former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson came on for former Newcastle midfielder Scotty Parker.
On 81 minutes Yohan Cabye had a terrific shot, which was going in just inside the pose, but the ball was deflected by an England defender for a corner.
And then France made a double change on 84 minutes , with Newcastle star Ben Arfa coming on for Malouda, and Martin coming on for Yohan Cabaye.
As England supporters, we were happy enough that the Newcastle winger had been introduced so late in the game, because he’s a potential match-winner if ever we saw one, and that’s exactly what the English commentators said when the skillful Frenchman came on.
England were seeing out this game, and it was obvious from the time wasting towards the end, that England were very happy with the point, and in truth it was a solid performance from England, in a game they just couldn’t lose.
But they will need to show more attacking prowess against Sweden and the Ukraine, in the last two games of Group D.
Cabaye had a good game tonight, and Mathieu Debuchy looked more than decent at right back for the French.
Note to Alan Pardew – sign him up!