England and France have played out a 1-1 draw, while Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko collected a brace as the Euro 2012 co-host beat Sweden 2-1 in Group D.
England 1-1 France
The plus 30 Celsius temperatures affected the speed of the game in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, but the sides still managed to entertain the fans with a couple of goals.
Despite lacking a number of key players through injury and with Wayne Rooney disqualified, England were better at the start, creating the first big chance of the match in the 15th minute.
James Milner made his way past French goalie, Hugo Lloris, but missed the empty net from a sharp angle.
The English took the lead on the half-hour mark, thanks to a set piece, which saw Joleon Lescott heading home from Steven Gerrard's cross to make it 1-0.
But it was the only shot on target for Roy Hodgson’s charges in the match as France recaptured the initiative after conceding the goal.
And in the 39th minute, they were celebrating their equalizer as Samir Nasri drove home from outside the box, beating keeper Joe Hart at the near post – 1-1.
The French team remained in full control after the break as well. Laurent Blanc’s men dominated possession with 61 per cent and had 15 shots on target, but it still wasn’t enough to capture the win.
Ukraine 2-1 Sweden
The Ukrainian players said they just had to win their game against Sweden as it would be a lot harder to earn points against England and France.
But their opponents had the same attitude towards the game at the Olimpiysky Stadium in Kiev.
Andriy Shevchenko and co had more of the ball, but it was the Swedes who created the best scoring chance in the opening half.
The Ukrainian defenders left Zlatan Ibrahimovic unmarked in the box, but the striker’s header ended up hitting the post.
But he made no mistake in the 52nd minute, beating keeper Andriy Pyatov from close range after a pass by Kim Kallstrom as the home players failed to clear the ball.
However, Swedish celebrations were cut short as Shevchenko capitalized on a perfect cross from Andriy Yarmolenko to net the equalizer just three minutes later.
And in the 62nd minute the 35-year-old talisman of Ukrainian football struck again to give his team the win. He eluded Ibrahimovic and headed the ball into the net from a sharp angle from a corner.
When Shevchenko was substituted in the 81st minute he was given a standing ovation by the packed arena.
Matchday 2 in Group D will take place on June 15, with Ukraine taking on France and Sweden facing England.
By posting your comment, you agree to abide by our Posting rules