The day after a parade of Team GB athletes drew over 1 million people into the streets of London, and Andy Murray ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a major singles tennis title, the England footballing stars threw some cold water on the euphoria that England sports fans were feeling.
A late penalty from Frank Lampard spared Roy Hodgson the ignominy of becoming the first England manager since Kevin Keegan to lose a World Cup game at Wembley.
The game could have been much easier for England if Tom Cleverly had converted any of his three first half chances or if Jermain Defoe’s goal had been allowed.
But they weren’t and it took the introduction of Danny Welbeck to change the game around. The speed of Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain scared the Ukraine defence, and England played its best football after Welbeck came on and AOC was pushed further forward. Instead of trying to pass it through the Ukraine defence, England’s forwards were running at them with pace, and that is when the best chances came.
The one area that Roy Hodgson will want England to work on, is how England play the ball out from the back. Against Ukraine, the two center backs, Lescott and Jagielka were to slow passing the ball, giving Ukraine plenty of time to set-up and defend.
So while a 1-1 draw is not the result that Roy Hodgson wanted, he will point that this was an under strength England side that was missing Terry, Cole, Rooney, Carroll and Walcott. All players that would have either started last night, or would have at least gave Hodgson another option off the bench.