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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 12 Round Up – England, France Complete Quarterfinals Line-Up

England and France progressed from Group D and completed the line-up for the quarterfinals of the ongoing 2012 Euro Championships. The Three Lions beat and dumped co-hosts Ukraine out of the tournament thanks to a solitary goal from the returning Wayne Rooney.

France suffered a shocker in Kiev going down 2-0 against Sweden who were playing for nothing but pride. The loss however condemned Les Blues to a tough clash with reigning champions Spain while England finished top of the group booking a date with Italy.

Rooney was the only change in Roy Hodgson’s team that beat Sweden with Andy Caroll relegated to the bench. Ukraine on the other hand were missing star man Andriy Shevchenko who was not passed fit to start.  The two teams huffed and puffed for much of the first half but none delivered the killer punch as the half ended barren.

England scored the only goal in the game just three minutes after the interval. Steven Gerrard whipped one of his many corners which the Ukraine defence timidly cleared into the feet of Glen Johnson. The Liverpool and England right-back returned the ball to his captain who side stepped and turned on his marker leaving him for dead before firing in a low shot which evaded everyone but Rooney at the far post. The Manchester United forward who was making his championships debut after serving a two-game suspension simply nodded in to register his first goal in the competition.

It was Gerrard’s third assist in as many matches and the Liverpool man seems to be growing in influence as the competition progresses.

The raucous home-team support in Donets’k were all up in arms just after the hour mark. Marko Devic, who was a consistent nuisance to the English backline, thought he had grabbed the equalizer before John Terry’s acrobatic clearance. The officials judged that the ball had not crossed the line although replays suggested otherwise. Justice was done however as Devic was in an offside position.

France failed in their pursuit to avoid the team that all are dreading to face, Spain, after going down to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal of the tournament-esque strike and another from Sebastian Larsson in added time.

France needed a win to guarantee top spot in Group D but they were expertly beaten in Kiev allowing England to finish top. Laurent Blanc’s men face Spain on Saturday 23rd June at the Donbass Arena in Donets’k before England take on Italy in Kiev a day later.

The first of the quarterfinal matches will be the Czech Republic versus Portugal on Thursday before Germany tackle Greece on Friday.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!