Euro 2016: England held by Russia in dramatic 1-1 draw
The Three Lions wasted an opportunity to get all three points as they failed to hold their nerve
England could only manage a draw in their opening game despite bossing most of it. Dier scored the opening goal in the 70th minute but Russia managed to get a draw right at the death through their captain Berezutski who headed home in the 92nd minute
England: Hart; Walker, Smalling, Cahill, Rose; Dier, Alli, Rooney; Sterling, Lallana, Kane.
Russia: Akinfeev; Smolnikov, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Schennikov; Golovin, Neustadter; Smolov, Shatov, Kokorin; Dzyuba.
Roy Hodgson decided to go with Harry Kane up front as the lone striker with Alli and Rooney playing in the midfield. Jamie Vardy was not included to the surprise of many. his searing pace destroyed defences in the Premier League last season.
The Russian camp’s biggest threat was expected to come from their in-form striker Artem Dzyuba. After coach Leonid Slutsky took over from Fabio Capello the Russians won all their remaining four games of qualifying to finish second in the group with Dzuyba scoring 8.
England the dominant side but waste a handful of chances
England had the first real chance of the game. Kyle Walker received the ball on the wing and ghosted past his marker, finding Liverpool’s Adam Lallana. The midfielder had space and time to unleash a half-volley from close range, but Akinfeev just about parried it over the bar as the shot lacked accuracy.
Russia made a very nervous start with England’s wingers causing a lot of trouble for their full-backs. Even the centre-backs looked shaky as Smalling had the next best chance with his header aimed straight at the keeper.
England had to do some defending of their own as well after 15 minutes. Shatov whipped in a free-kick from the left-hand side and Berezutski’s met it with his head but it was straight at Hart.
The chances continued to pour in for England as Lallana went close next ,skewing his shot wide when he should have found the back of the net. Russia managed to hold England for a small period of time before the Three Lions were at it again. Rooney unleashed a thunderous volley which stung the palms of Akinfeev.
Russia were not learning from their mistakes and hoping for the half time whistle to blow at this point. It eventually did come to their rescue but not before Sterling came close after he chested Danny Rose’s dangerous ball only to see Akinfeev to the rescue once again.
England finally get their goal but Russia rescue it in stoppage time
Russia started better in the second. half keeping possession and trying to work their way through the English defence. But it didn;t take long for the game to fall back into the first half pattern.
Kane with some neat footwork on the right was brought down earning his side a free kick. Rooney stepped up but his effort was just above the bar. The Russian defence did look more solid and made more of an attempt to get forward.
Smolov had next chance for Russia as they started to grow into the game. The No 10. curled a wonderful low effort which was just wide off the post. but if it was on target it looked like Hart had it covered,
Everyone in the stadium thought England had finally got their goal in the 70th minute as Rooney unleashed a shot from the edge of the box after good work from Danny Rose but just as it looked like the captain had got them the goal Akinfeev produced one of the saves of the tournament so far.
3 minutes later the Three Lions got what they deserved. Kane was fouled on the edge of the box. Rooney was over the ball but left it for Eric Dier who thumped it brilliantly past the despairing goalkeeper to the joy of the English fans.
But England threw it all away right at the end. A normal cross into the box and Brezutski, the captain on the night rose the highest to head a looping header over Joe Hart. Glushakov also got a touch but it was given as the captain’s goal.
It didn’t matter in the end as familiar failings haunted England once again with the teams sharing the spoils.