Manchester City stars were on the score sheet for their countries as Joleon Lescott’s header was cancelled out by Samir Nasri’s equalizer. England had well organized defensive set up and held France to earn a point in perhaps their most difficult fixture of the group.
The teams started slowly, without testing the opposition defense and gave away possession of the ball easily. The first real threat for England came when Nasri let fly from 20 odd yards only to see his ball end up inches wide of the goal post. French continued pressure on England with string of attacks but no clear cut opportunity. Steven Gerrard tried to counter with a wonder ball to Young who did not have enough support and lost the ball.
The golden chance to open the scoring fell to James Milner as Young slid a through ball and the Manchester City midfielder rounded the goalkeeper but could not score. There was a moment of scare for England as in the 22nd minute Welbeck hurt his ankle and moved to the sidelines. Having already lost players through injuries, this could have been a major blow, fortunately for England; he was back on his feet and continued. Minutes later , Patrice Evra needlessly conceded a free kick on the left, Gerrard stepped up to deliver a pin point cross and Lescott rose above everyone to head it home.
England having taken the lead should have controlled the game instead they opted to sit back and play on the counter. France came up with series of attacks and Joe Hart made a stunning save from Diaby’s header. Not finding a way through, French side carried on trying their luck from outside the box and saw most of their shots blocked until in 39th minute Samir Nasri struck a low shot from 25 yards to deservedly equalize for France. Without further drama, teams went into dressing room all square.
The second half started more or less the sameway first half did, with both teams settling down, but France gathered momentum and pressurized England defense. Scott Parker was losing stamina and eventually France found more space to have a go on Joe Hart’s goal from distance but again could not create clear cut opportunities as English defense was rock solid.
Johan Cabaye could have scored from the volley had Welbeck not blocked it wide and Gerrard made an important interception when Benzema tried to curl the ball in the top corner. Late in the game Roy Hodgson brought fresh legs in the form Defoe, Henderson and Walcott and so did France bring on Ben Arfa and Martin. French remained in control of the ball and continued attacking but again English defense was disciplined enough to hold back their attack like all game as the referee blew the final whistle to end the match in stalemate.
England – Joleon Lescott (30)
France – Samir Nasri (39)
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