France Vs. England: Teams Share Spoils After 1-1 Draw

France had the better of play against England, but they couldn't overcome a 1-1 deadlock to earn three points.

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26 Total Updates since June 11, 2012
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France Needs More Than Samir Nasri, Wide Play To Be Successful

France's midfield has improved significantly under Laurent Blanc, but it was poor against England. Can Blanc get them back to creating chances for Karim Benzema?

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England's Defense Succeeds In Frustrating France

England may have been dull for the neutral on Monday, but its defense was effective and denied France the space to create obvious goal-scoring chances.

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James Milner Is Not A Winger

James Milner is one of England's few competent central midfielders. Can anyone explain why he's being put on the wing?

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Mission Accomplished For Roy Hodgson

England have finally embraced the need to approach matches like underdogs, and the draw against France was the first step on their road to recovery from their recent embarrassments.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Final Score, Good First Half Leads To Poor Second Half In 1-1 Draw

England and France played one half of very high-quality and entertaining football, but didn't really feel like duplicating the feat in the second half. With the assistance of referee Nicola Rizzoli, the two teams played a very sloppy second half with a fair bit of fouling and diving, and the match ended 1-1.

Both goals came in the first half, and both were impressive. England netted the opener in the 30th minute on a set piece, with Steven Gerrard providing a beautiful delivery for Joleon Lescott. The Manchester City defender rose up above Alou Diarra and powered the ball into the net, giving the Three Lions a surprise lead against the run of play.

His City teammate Samir Nasri hit the equalizer in the 39th minute. Franck Ribery set him up with a quality touch on the edge of the penalty area, virtually putting the ball on a tee for Nasri to rip into. The ball looked like it had a mind of its own as it found its way through traffic, giving a badly screened Joe Hart no chance to come up with a save.

It's rare in football that the basic box score tells most of the story of a match, but this one is an exception. England had just five attempts on goal and one shot on target, indicating just how little they did going forward. France had 21 shots, but only hit the target seven times, correctly indicating that a lot of their efforts on goal were merely speculative.

One thing that the box score missed was the officiating, however. The match was a very physical one that was loaded with bookable offenses -- both fouls and dives -- but Rizzoli was extremely lenient. No France players were booked and a total of just 16 fouls were called. On the evidence of this match, Rizzoli's probably not a great candidate to officiate knockout stage matches. There's an argument made for letting the boys play, but in this case, his unwillingness to call fouls detracted from the match.

It appears that 1-1 draws are the result de jour in this edition of the European Championships. This is the third match of the tournament to end with that score.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: 2nd Half Underway

We're back up and running in Donetsk, where England and France have traded first half goals and are locked in a 1-1 draw. France are obviously the better pure footballing side, but England have defended well and taken advantage of some slackness on their opponents' part, so you'd have to imagine that Roy Hodgson is fairly happy with his side. Laurent Blanc? Perhaps less so.

Anyway, France kick us off, and they immediately look to push down the left, where Glen Johnson lumps the ball out of play. Eventually the ball is worked to Franck Ribery, and the Bayern Munich winger gives England midfielder a painful looking swipe to the face. That wasn't very nice of him.

England are having real issues getting out of their half at the moment, with Alou Diarra mopping up most of their attempts to get forward, and their lack of composure is evidence by an awful backpass from James Milner that Joe Hart barely beats Samir Nasri to. That could easily have been a goal - a real letoff for England.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, Nasri And Lescott Have It Tied 1-1

Update: England 1-1 France, Final Score

England have put together a better showing than most expected from them in the first half of their Euro 2012 opener against France, but they'll be disappointed that they conceded a goal shortly before halftime. The Three Lions got off to a strong start and found the opening goal on a set piece, but Samir Nasri pulled one back to lock up the score at 1-1 at halftime.

France had some good early moments in the first half, and they controlled the play from the start of the match. Joe Hart almost gave up a golden chance in the 9th minute when he dropped a corner kick, but England was able to clear. Two minutes later, Nasri hit a good shot just inches wide. That seemed to be a bit of a wake-up call for England, who settled in after that.

James Milner missed an absolutely golden chance to put England ahead in the 15th minute. Scott Parker and Ashley Young did well to quickly get the ball forward from midfield to set up Milner, with Young providing a through ball for Milner to run onto. Milner made a great run past the France defense and rounded Hugo Lloris to give himself an empty net, but he inexplicably missed wide, hitting the side netting at the near post.

That miss could have been a gut-punch to England, but they fought back and find an opening goal in the 30th minute. Steven Gerrard set it up with a great free kick from the right flank, hitting an out-swinger towards the edge of the six-yard area. Joleon Lescott got up above Alou Diarra and powered a header into the back of the net, giving the Three Lions a surprise lead.

France began to show much more of a sense of urgency after that goal went in. They had two great chances in the 35th minute, with Diarra nearly redeeming himself for his part in the England goal. He turned a Nasri free kick on target with a great header, but Hart came up with a big save. Franck Ribery put the rebound back across the box for Diarra to make another attempt, but his second effort went wide.

Just four minutes later, France found their equalizer through Nasri. On a well-worked short set piece routine, the ball ended up on the edge of the penalty area at the feet of Ribery, who teed up Nasri for a shot. He unleashed a low drive at Hart's near post that found its way through a good deal of traffic. Hart spotted the ball late because of the players in front of him and couldn't react in time as it whizzed by him and into the back of the net.

Both teams and sets of fans are likely heading into halftime happy with their performance. France have been the better side and have an opportunity to win the game, but England are holding their own. The Three Lions won't be happy that they conceded, but Roy Hodgson probably would have taken a draw at halftime before the match started.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Nasri Makes It 1-1

And now France do have their goal. Just after spurning by far their best chance of the match, the favourites are level through Samir Nasri. It comes out of basically nothing, with Florent Malouda, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery messing about with the ball at the edge of Joe Hart's penalty area, but suddenly Ribery lays it off to Nasri and the Manchester City midfielder blasts goalwards, beating Hart at his near post.

Hart might have done better there, but he was at least partially unsighted by Steven Gerrard, who had charged out in a futile attempt to block the shot. It wasn't great defending there - one of the midfield duo really ought to have closed Nasri down, but he was given plenty of time and space to get the shot away. That's England's good work undone then, and we're back to square one at Donetsk. 1-1.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Joleon Lescott Gives England Lead

England have the lead! James Milner is fouled by Patrice Evra on the right, and Steven Gerrard eventually flings the ball into the box, where Joleon Lescott is free to head home from six yards past an absolutely helpless Hugo Lloris. That's exactly how you'd have envisioned an England goal coming, too. I have no idea what Alou Diarra was doing there, but it wasn't anything approximating 'defending'.

At any rate, it was a great header from the Manchester City man and the Three Lions have the lead. It'll be interesting to see if they can hold it - protecting a lead with a counterattacking strategy will suit them very well indeed, and France might have had a lot of the ball but they certainly haven't looked a real threat to score. Holding out here would be a huge result.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Milner Misses Open Goal!

There's a real chance for England! If they're going to do anything from open play in Donetsk it'll be because Ashley Young has opened up a vulnerable-looking France back line. That's exactly what happens here, with Scott Parker feeding the Manchester United player before Young slips in former Aston Villa teammate James Milner with a lovely ball between Adil Rami and Phillippe Mexes.

Suddenly, Milner's free on goal, and he rounds Hugo Lloris before... shooting well wide, albeit from an acute angle. That should almost certainly have been 1-0, which would have made this match very interesting. At the very least, it'll be a confidence booster for England. Except Milner. France respond with a longish-range effort from Yohan Cabaye, which Joe Hart gets down well to save. This match is open and rather fun so far.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Match Underway

We're off and running in Donetsk, where France and England are battling it out in the sweltering heat. This is probably the most important match of the group stages for both sides - they go in as joint favourites to advance to the quarterfinals, but if either lose they could suddenly see Sweden in pole position to qualify instead. England have never won the opening match of a European Championship finals, just in case you were wondering.

England get us going, and they manage to keep the ball for all of eleven second before a long punt from Joe Hart gets unsurprisingly intercepted in midfield. No matter, thought, they win the ball back and then play two clever balls down the flanks. The first, aimed for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, runs out of play, and Danny Welbeck is flagged offside for the second, but they're good ideas and there'll be some hope that the Three Lions can make the most of their chances down the flanks.

We have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Lineups

The big news coming out from Donestk is that Roy Hodgson has handed a starting place to 18 year old Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who will play on the left ahead of Stewart Downing. While Oxlade-Chamberlain was exciting in his start last week against Belgium, he did seem to try to do too much at times. In any case, he'll be more of a threat than Stewart Downing. The rest of England's lineup is as expected; James Milner plays on the right to try to counteract the Franck Ribery-Florent Malouda-Patrice Evra threat.

As expected, Yann M'Vila is only fit enough for the bench for France, but Alou Diarra is fit to start meaning that Les Bleus don't need to use their panic plan of Laurent Koscielny in the midfield. Koscielny doesn't get the start ahead of Philippe Mexes and Adil Rami, while Patrice Evra keeps his place despite the superior form of Gael Clichy.

France (4-3-3): Lloris; Evra, Mexes, Rami, Debuchy; Malouda, Diarra, Cabaye; Ribery, Benzema, Nasri

England (4-2-3-1): Hart; Cole, Lescott, Terry, Johnson; Parker, Gerrard; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Milner; Welbeck

We'll have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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France Vs. England, Euro 2012: Lines, Odds And Picks

We're going to pass on making jokes about England. It's just too easy so let's sum this all up without making fun: England is not very good to start and have a slew of injuries; France is playing as well as they have since the 2006 World Cup; England are still really not good.

Lines: England, pick 'em (+125). France, pick 'em (-145).

Odds: England, +220. France, +130. Draw, +210.

Over/Under: Over 2, +115. Under 2, -135.

Lines often skew far too much in favor of England because they are popular enough that people bet on them regardless of how good they are and push the line that way. The Three LIons are bad enough that they are actually pretty heavy underdogs. To comprehend how rare that is, they weren't this big of underdogs in the World Cup against Germany. You still shouldn't be on them. Like not even a little. Take France on the moneyline.

The only chance England has is to do the Roy Special and play a 1-0 match with everyone behind the ball. That won't win them the match, but it will keep them to losing by only a goal. Still, Karim Benzema against John Terry and Joleon Lescott, who play together like they are complete strangers? Samir Nasri and Franck Ribery with no responsibilities tracking back because, well, it's James Milner and Stewart Downing? There's at least two in this one for France and the odds are lovely.

We'll have live coverage in our France vs. England, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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