Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Group D Review

Tuesday saw the final group games of this year's tournament.

The day's play saw Ukraine take on England whilst Sweden took on France, Ukraine needed to win in order to reach the quarter finals whilst England and France knew a draw each would be enough. First place in the group was also up for grabs which would mean avoiding champions Spain in the next round.

I will start with hosts Ukraine taking on England which saw the return of Wayne Rooney from suspension. The opening half was a cagey affair with chances being few and far between, mid way through the half though England created a clear cut chance as Rooney was left unmarked at the back post, but failed to even hit the target as the sides went into the half time interval level.

Four minutes in to the second half saw the breakthrough England had been hoping for, man of the match Steven Gerrard whipped the ball in causing chaos in the Ukrainian's box, Rooney was again at the back post and this time made no mistake. Ukraine were dealt a massive blow minutes later, Marko Devic's shot was cleared by John Terry despite it crossing the line, the officials were unmoved and the goal line technology calls will grow louder.

England went on to seal the game without much panic and secured their place in the quarter finals, who they would play would depend on the French result. France were taking on a Swedish side who had lost both of their opening games and were already out of the competition.

This match was even throughout as France tried to edge the game much like England had done on Friday, Sweden knew they had nothing to lose and tried to play with more of an attacking threat. Despite the odd half chance the opening period ended level with both sides feeling confident that they could nick the game.

The Swedish were brought to life nine minutes into the second half as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scored possibly the goal of the tournament so far. He latched onto a cross with a superb first time volley on the edge the box to stun the French. France tried to get back into the game but couldn't find a way through with substitute Olivier Giround, missing the side's best chance. Sebastian Larsson wrapped up the game in stoppage time as Sweden took the three points.

These results mean England finish top of the group and will play Italy on Sunday, the French will be disappointed not to finish top of the group and will have to get past World and European champions Spain, in order to reach the semi finals.

Wayne Rooney England

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