Wayne Rooney returned from suspension to score the winner in the final group game against Ukraine to submit qualification to the quarter finals.
With a crowd of 51,504 in the Donbass Arena, and the majority of them being Ukrainians, England were under a lot of pressure from the off, with Ukraine needing no less than a win to qualify. Roy Hodgson’s side didn’t have much ball in the first quarter but Ukraine caused little threat. The best chance of the first half fell to newly returned Wayne Rooney, with good build up play down the left with the two Ashley’s, it was Young’s right-footed cross which fell on the head of unmarked Rooney. Rooney however, could not get the header on target from six yards out, that moment had English fans across the country on the edge of their seat.
The decisive goal came in the 48th minute of the game. Captain Steven Gerrard beat his man down the right and whipped in a cross, the ball took two deflections before landing on Wayne Rooney‘s head on the goal line. This put joy on all English faces and left the Ukrainians heartbroken. But had England done enough?
The Ukrainians refused to lose belief, and they were soon robbed of a goal. Devic’s shot was heading for the goal until Terry scrambled back and hooked the ball of the line. Replay’s should that the whole ball had crossed the line before Terry cleared the ball. The Ukrainians demanded a goal but it was not to be. However, the Ukrainian striker was showed to be offside in the build up to the disallowed goal.
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine’s top goalscorer, was not fit enough to start the game, but when he made an appearance from the substitutes bench, he received a heroes reception. It was not to be for the idolised striker though, as he soon received a yellow card after a rash challenge on Ashley Young.
There was still enough time for full back Ashley Cole to nearly mark his 97th cap with a goal. Ukrainian goalkeeper made a great recovery save after another poor clearance from a cross.
That was it for Roy Hodgson and his side, this win and France’s loss to Sweden, it meant that England will face Italy in Kiev on Sunday. Before the game, Hodgson said his side could ‘dream a little’ ahead of the match with Italy, but now the dream can get a whole more serious.
Check out Wayne Rooney’s goal below…