Euro 2012: England Win To Top Group D, France Also Through

Wayne Rooney's goal put them past Ukraine, 1-0, to win the group, while France also advance despite losing, 2-0.

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16 Total Updates since June 18, 2012
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Ukraine Vs. England, Euro 2012: Final Score, England Progress With 1-0 Win After Bitty Performance

Let's get it out of the way early on, shall we? In reverse chronological order: Yes, it was over the line. It's not entirely clear what the fifth official was doing, but for a man with more-or-less one job, he proved spectacularly bad at it.

That means, of course, that it wasn't particularly good defending from John Terry, either. Applause for being lucky is an empty business, and desperate goal-line clearances from behind the line are failures by definition. Rewinding further, it was Terry who was caught flat-footed under the long ball as the move began; for all his contortions, he was not quite good enough, twice.

But rewinding further still, as the ball arced into the England half, Artem Milevskiy -- who had a busy, bustling game -- was slightly but clearly offside. So the whole business is academic anyway, and we can mercifully leave the great goal-line technology debate for another day. No talk of karma, no mentions of Germany 2010 or Germany 1966, no mess, no fuss, no harm, no foul? Right? Please?

Mind you, there was precious little else to talk about. One of the least memorable first halves in history came and went with only a rust-laden Wayne Rooney miss to show for it. Rooney, whose return was threatening to rev up the English media hype generators, looked exactly as you'd expect a man playing his first competitive game for five weeks to look: slightly off the pace, a touch over-elaborate at some moments, a trifle lax at others. But there were also moments of neat interplay with Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young, particularly in the second half, and both he and his manager will have been glad to get 86 minutes into his legs.

And of course, there was Rooney's goal, perhaps the easiest of his career. Credit must go to Steven Gerrard, who slipped a tackle out wide and slapped in a low, hard cross along the six-yard line. A couple of deflections did just enough to distract Andriy Pyatov, who kneed it limply into Rooney's path, and England were on top of the group.

Ukraine had been the slicker team in the first half, targeting England's defensively vulnerable left flank through the slippery Andriy Yarmolenko and the overlapping Oleh Husyev, a winger in a fullback's position and a striker's No. 9 shirt. Marko Dević was tidy throughout, and Milevskiy missed a simple header on the hour after a cross from the left found him inexplicably alone on the six-yard-line. Perhaps he was surprised by the space, because he carefully guided his header over Joe Hart's crossbar. Again, he was slightly offside; again, the flag stayed down. It wasn't a great game for the officials.

On for the last 20 minutes came Andriy Shevchenko, winning what will in all probability be his last cap for his country. The legendary striker -- who credited the prospect of this tournament for extending his career -- was clearly inhibited by the inconvenient knee fluid that kept him from the starting lineup, and his only real contribution of note was a frustrated chop on Ashley Young. And as the game wound down, only a vicious, swerving, 25-yard knuckleball from Yevhen Konoplyanka threatened to discombobulate England; Hart, who hadn't been overworked at any stage, stuck out an arm, and Joleon Lescott was alert enough to sweep up.

Out go Ukraine, who were ultimately unable to glean enough chances from their tidy passing and tricky wingmen to bother England or France. However, that Shevchenko-inspired victory over Sweden will live long in the memory of football fans given to sentiment (that's all of you). England progress and, thanks to a demob-happy Sweden and insipid France, will face Italy in the quarterfinals. One suspects that Cesare Prandelli's men will prove a stiffer test, both for England's luck and for Roy Hodgson's rigid banks of four.

You can find our previous coverage of both of Tuesday's games in our Euro 2012, Group D Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Sweden Vs. France, Euro 2012: Final Score, Sweden Wins 2-0, France Still Advances

Sweden essentially dominated a lackluster France, earning a 2-0 win in their final match of Euro 2012. Sweden were already eliminated going into the day, so the pressure was off and it showed. An amazing strike by Zlatan Ibrahimović and a late goal by Sebastian Larsson helped the Swedes cruise past France.

Despite being scoreless, the first half was reasonably entertaining. Sweden were content to defend and pick their spots to attack, which they did exceedingly well. If not for a couple of offside calls and an off-target shot, Sweden could have easily been ahead by a goal or two at the break. As it was, France controlled the flow of play, but were unable to find a way through the Swedish defense.

While I can't prove it, England's goal at the start of the second half of their match with Ukraine seemed to quickly matriculate to the French bench, as they perked up in the minutes after the goal and began to press a bit harder on the attack. Bad idea.

Sweden opened the scoring in the 51st minute thanks to a wonder strike from Ibrahimović. Larsson was left alone outside on the right wing and swung a cross in to the top of the box where Zlatan went airborne and blasted a shot past French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a stunning mid-air scissor kick that was quite possibly the goal of the tournament so far.

Sweden capped their Euro 2012 experience with a late goal by Larsson. After Christian Wilhelmsson made a great run and a clever cross that was hit off the bar by Samuel Holmén, Larsson was lurking and put home the rebound to give Sweden the 2-0 lead.

France looked a mess for most of the second half, playing some uninspired and disorganized soccer. Despite the loss, the England win over Ukraine allows France to quietly advance to the quarterfinals anyway. Laurent Blanc and his team have a ton of work to do ahead of a date against Spain. If France play like they did today, they will have a long day against the defending champions.

One final note: Blanc has been on record saying he would never play two strikers together and that the 4-4-2 formation was no longer relevant in modern football. By the end of the match today, France was in a 4-4-2 formation with Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud up front. It appears that when push comes to shove, even the most ardently held beliefs can indeed change. Of course, it didn't really work, so maybe Blanc felt justified at some level. (Probably not.)

You can find our previous coverage of both of Tuesday's games in our Euro 2012, Group D Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Ukraine Vs. England, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, 0-0 In Predictable Fashion

England have only had about 10 minutes of solid play against Ukraine in the first half of their Group D finale, but they weathered the early storm in Donetsk and succeeded in making the game a dull one in the final 15 minutes of the half. The Three Lions only need a draw to progress to the quarterfinals and in true Roy Hodgson fashion, they're playing for it. It's 0-0 after 45 minutes of play.

The first 20 minutes were completely dominated by Ukraine, and only some very good play from Joleon Lescott and John Terry kept England from conceding. Ukraine's decision to introduce Marko Devic and Denys Harmash has been a good one, with both players looking very lively. England has struggled with Ukraine's wingers as well, but their central defense pair have kept Ukraine from creating anything too dangerous.

Oleh Husyev came closest for Ukraine, hitting a laser of a strike just a few inches over the bar in the 22nd minute. Ashley Young gifted him the chance by completely misjudging a diagonal ball, allowing it to go over his head and right to Husyev. He came forward and unleashed a fierce shot, but couldn't hit the target.

England's best chance came six minutes later, with Young doing a bit to atone for his error with a great cross to Wayne Rooney, but the Manchester United forward looked very much like a player who had to sit out two games with his miss. He had a free header, but mistimed his jump and inexplicably missed wide at the near post.

Andriy Yarmolenko had a decent shot at the end of a pretty passing move in the 30th minute, and that would be the last truly great chance of the half. Both teams got the ball into the opposition penalty area for some half chances in the final 15 minutes, but neither defense truly looked phased. England succeeded in slowing things down at the end of the half, but hopefully for the neutrals, Hodgson's tactics for the second half are a bit different. This has the potential to turn exciting, but more potential to get very dull.

We'll have live coverage of both of Tuesday's games simultaneously in our Euro 2012, Group D Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

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Sweden Vs. France, Euro 2012: Lineups

Sweden and France dropped slight surprises into their lineups, though Sweden have already been eliminated from the tournament, so nothing should be considered too shocking. Johan Elmander and Markus Rosenberg haven't done the job up top, so Emir Bajrami comes in as a winger, moving Ola Toivonen into the center. He'll probably play behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but both can fill the No. 9 or No. 10 role. France have dropped Yohan Cabaye and not Alou Diarra for Yann M'Vila, who has recovered from an ankle injury. They also dropped the superb Jeremy Menez for Hatem Ben Arfa in a surprise switch.

Sweden Lineup (4-2-3-1): Andreas Isaakson; Martin Olsson, Jonas Olsson, Olaf Mellberg, Andreas Granqvist; Anders Svensson, Kim Kallstrom; Emir Bajrami, Ola Toivonen, Sebastian Larsson; Zlatan Ibrahimovic

France Lineup (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Gael Clichy, Adil Rami, Philippe Mexes, Mathieu Debuchy; Yann M'Vila, Alou Diarra; Franck Ribery, Hatem Ben Arfa, Samir Nasri; Karim Benzema

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. You can catch the game on ESPN 2 in the United States.

We'll have live coverage of both of Tuesday's games simultaneously in our Euro 2012, Group D Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Ukraine Vs. England, Euro 2012: Lineups

Ukraine need a win to advance to the quarterfinals, and they're going with a more youthful lineup than usual in an attempt to get the result they need against England. Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Denys Harmash and Artem Milevskiy are surprise introductions. Andriy Shevchenko is out with an injury. Roy Hodgson has introduced Wayne Rooney into the team, and he'll play behind his club teammate Danny Welbeck, who is preferred to Andy Carroll.

Ukraine Lineup (4-1-3-2): Andriy Pyatov; Yevhen Selin, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Yevhen Khacheridi, Oleh Husyev; Anatoliy Tymoshchuk; Yevhen Konoplyanka, Denys Harmash, Andriy Yarmolenko; Marko Devic, Artem Milevskiy

England Lineup (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart; Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Glen Johnson; Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker; Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, James Milner; Danny Welbeck

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET from Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine. You can catch the game on ESPN 3 in the United States.

We'll have live coverage of both of Tuesday's games simultaneously in our Euro 2012, Group D Finale StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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"Two Nations": A Tactical Preview Of Ukraine Vs. England

Having employed distinct tactical systems against France and Sweden, will Roy Hodgson seek a third solution against Ukraine?

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