England 1 France 1 – Three Lions start with a solid draw against Les Bleus
England made a competent start to their Euro 2012 campaign by drawing 1-1 against a talented French team who were largely thwarted in their attempts to create scoring chances.
June 11th, 2012
Roy Hodgson sprung a surprise by naming Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his first competitive starting XI and the Arsenal youngster gave a good account of himself before making way for Jermain Defoe towards the end of the match.
England made a bright start to the match and looked more threatening before France started to get more possession, with Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery probing away, while Alou Diarra was typically dominant in the centre of midfield.
However, Patrice Evra gave away a free-kick after half an hour and Steven Gerrard’s re-taken free-kick was met by the head of Joleon Lescott to put the Three Lions into a 1-0 lead, although England weren’t going to stay ahead for long.
While Hodgson’s team got plenty of men behind the ball, Nasri found some space on the edge of the England penalty area and the Manchester City winger’s shot eluded Joe Hart after the ball found its way through a forest of legs.
The second half was largely a level affair although France were the team to dominate possession and Hart had to be sharp to prevent Ribery scoring from a tight angle, with Karim Benzema also testing the England goalkeeper at the death.
The outstanding England performances came from Glen Johnson and Danny Welbeck, the latter of whom did excellently to hold the ball up and bring others in to play.