Euro 2012: Lucky England through, Ukraine exit
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal that counted, giving England a 1-0 win over Ukraine and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals.
Wayne Rooney scored the only goal that counted, giving England a 1-0 win over Ukraine and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals. (All AFP and AP Images)
A 48th-minute header from returning talisman Wayne Rooney was enough to see England finish top of Group D and send them into a quarter-final in Kiev on Sunday against Italy.
It was Rooney's first goal at a major tournament since scoring four at Euro 2004 as an 18-year-old rising star. He failed to find the net at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, while England failed to even qualify for Euro 2008.
However Ukraine were desperately unlucky not to have earned at least a draw after Marko Devic had a clear goal wrongly disallowed on 62 minutes.
Devic had powered into the box and his looping shot had flown over keeper Joe Hart towards goal.
John Terry launched himself into an acrobatic clearance to hook the ball away and despite the ball crossing the line, no goal was given.
Captain Steven Gerrard, who whipped the cross into the penalty area that resulted in England's goal, was named the man of the match.
England rode their luck in a one-sided first-half which Ukraine dominated, carving out a string of promising openings only to be denied by either desperate defending or the goalkeeping of Joe Hart.
Ukraine tried hard but while some shots were saved by Hart, others just creeped over the goal.
The match saw the hosts put up a tough fight and give England a run for their money.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, left, and Metalist Kharkiv owner Oleksandr Yaroslavsky watched the match. Wonder who Abramovich was supporting!