Euro 2012 - England vs France
Posted by Guest Writer on Tue, 12 Jun 2012.
Group D's campaign opened with an old firm battle between the English and the French. And my, my what a battle it proved to be! Captain Fantastic will certainly be pleased with the final score of 1-1, as he admitted to a draw being acceptable prior to the game.
The men in white were off to a slow start, Joe Hart being the busiest of the keepers as he wowed audiences with spectacular saves. Many of us were left wondering why on earth he wasn't between the sticks when Fabio Capello managed the lads in the World Cup of 2010. Joe Hart no doubt proved himself to be worthy and capable of the job enough, as he denied the likes of Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery, both of whom tortured the English on many occasions.
Despite France leading with possession and attack, it was the three lions who opened the scoring. Let us ignore Stevie's first attempt at a free kick which he luckily had to retake (thank you referee for blowing that whistle) and instead, take two. It was a pin perfect cross, and Joleon Lescott evaded his defender, to head the ball past Lloris. Score!
But the lead didn't last long, and the lads will be disappointed to have conceded. However, Samir Nasri's goal was undoubtedly a class act that put the French on level terms. Joe Hart almost reached a hand to it, but nothing could be done and France equalised.
Both sides pushed for the winner, and both had glorious opportunities. Perhaps the most obvious was James Milner's in the opening minutes of the game. There was an open goal just waiting for him, but instead, he chose the side netting. As for the French, they continued to test Joe Hart who ultimately came to his nation's rescue when we needed him most.
However, it's impossible to discuss this game without mentioning the young English lads who played considerably well given the occasion. Inexperienced yes, but some fresh new faces is exactly what the country needs. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Welbeck were just two of the names on the field, but both deserve standing ovations for the effort they put in. Many have criticised Roy Hodgson's choice of soldiers, but those voices may have just been quietened momentarily. With experience these boys can improve, so with today's performance in consideration, it seems that Hodgson may be playing his cards right.
The French played a far more technical game, the likes of Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery being hot on England's heels. Mathieu Debucy however is a name to watch out for. The Lille man was a terror with his storms down the right flank. But England rose to the occasion and held up their defences. Well done lads.
Biased as I am, I have to mention Steven Gerrard. The man was exceptional once again, proving why he wears the captain's armband. That Frenchman was right when he confessed to Stevie G being France's biggest threat wasn't he?
All in all, England still have a long way to go. Though they performed rather well given the circumstances, they still have a long way to go if they hope to progress. But, I suppose that Manchester City fans will be happy right now, with their two players getting the goals. All I'll say is, Liverpool FC may have finished 8th in the league... but they still managed to qualify for Euro 2012.
Article by Faz