England denied impressive victory by late Russia equaliser

Saturday 11 Jun 2016
Eric Dier fires home a free-kick against Russia
England were dealt a cruel blow deep into second-half stoppage-time, when Vasili Berezutski headed home to deny the Three Lions a well-deserved victory over Russia.

Eric Dier’s 73rd-minute free-kick looked to have given England three points after an energetic, impressive performance which often lacked nothing but a finishing touch.

England 1-1 Russia

UEFA Euro 2016
Group B
8pm, Saturday 11 June 2016
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Live on ITV

It could have been so different, and manager Roy Hodgson will surely look to remind his side of just how well they played before Berezutski, leapt above Danny Rose and headed past Joe Hart, and Glushakov bundled home on the line to make it 1-1.

Opening games are often cagey affairs but this was nothing of the sort, with Hodgson sending out an England side brimming with attacking talent.

Harry Kane was an obvious selection to lead the line, with Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling operating either side of the Tottenham Hotspur striker.

Dele Alli was given licence to attack from midfield, with the Three Lions’ record goalscorer Wayne Rooney making his first start in a deeper role, and it seemed to suit his passing and leadership skills.

Alli made his presence felt early on, volleying just wide after Lallana had headed back into his path, and Lallana and Sterling both ran clear on the right to fashion chances that lacked only a finishing touch.

Kane also twice saw the ball whistle across him when stationed in front of goal, although Russia’s only chance of the first 40 minutes was a heart-in-mouth moment, as Sergei Ignashevich powered a header from a free-kick that stung Joe Hart’s palms.

England continued to impress, though, and Rooney went close to breaking the deadlock with a fizzing snapshot.

Hodgson’s side surely did not want the first half to end, and nine shots on goal to Russia’s one was a fair reflection of their dominance.

Russia were a different proposition after the break, looking more precise and quicker to the ball, and Hart had to react sharply to parry Dier’s miscued clearance.

But the greater ambition showed by Leonid Slutsky’s side created more chances for England on the break, and Rooney forced a superb save from Igor Akinfeev.

Akinfeev’s heroics raised the fear that time was running out for England to make their dominance count, but salvation was close, as one of Alli’s lungbusting runs was brought to end by Georgi Schennikov.

Rooney lined up the free-kick, but it was Dier who thumped a shot through a crowded box, and gave England’s travelling support what they had been craving.

Hodgson introduced Jack Wilshere and James Milner to close the game out, and Sterling had a goal ruled out for offside after a slick interchange.

Indeed England looked calm and composed until, with seconds remaining, Russia played their last card and came up trumps.

England (4-3-3): 1  Joe  Hart (Manchester City); 2 Kyle Walker (Tottenham), 5 Gary Cahill (Chelsea), 6 Chris Smalling (Manchester United), 3 Danny Rose (Tottenham); 10 Wayne Rooney (captain; Manchester United), 17 Eric Dier, 20 Dele Alli (both Tottenham); 8  Adam Lallana (Liverpool) 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham), 7 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Substitutes: 19 Jack Wishere (Arsenal) for Rooney 78; 4 James Milner (Liverpool) for Sterling 87.

Substitutes not used: 11 Jamie Vardy (Leicester), 12 Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), 13  Fraser Forster (GK; Southampton), 14 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 15 Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), 16 John Stones (Everton), 18 Ross Barkley (Everton), 21 Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), 22 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), 23 Tom Heaton (GK; Burnley).

Goals: Dier 73.

Bookings: Cahill.

Manager: Roy Hodgson.

Russia (4-2-3-1): 1 Igor Akinfeev; 3 Igor Smolnikov, 4 Sergei Ignashevich, 14 Vasili Berezutski, 21 Georgi Schennikov; 5 Roman Neustadter, 10 Fyodor Smolov; 9 Aleksandr Kokorin, 17 Oleg Shatov, 13  Aleksandr Golovin, 22 Artyom  Dzjuba.

Substitutes: 15 Roman Shirokov for Golovin 77; 8 Denis Glushakov for Neustadter 80;  11 Pavel Mamayev for Smolov 85. 

Substitutes not used: 12 Yuri Lodygin (GK), 2 Roman Shishkin, 6 Aleksei Berezutski, 23 Dmitri Kombarov, 7 Artur Yusupov, 18 Oleg Ivanov, 19 Aleksandr Samedov, 20 Dmitri Torbinski

Goals: Glushakov 90.

Bookings: Schennikov.

Manager: Leonid Slutsky.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli.(Italy).

By James Callow Content manager