Lacklustre England stutter to draw against Ukraine


Lacklustre England stutter to draw against Ukraine

Kyle Walker celebrates after equalising for England
Kyle Walker celebrates after equalising for England AFP
England were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine in European Championship Qualifying (ECQ) at the Tarczynski Arena in Wrocław, taking the Blue and Yellow’s unbeaten run as the designated home side into its 14th match.

Gareth Southgate’s side immediately took control of possession, but they were left frustrated by Ukraine’s resolute backline early on, despite an in-form Jude Bellingham trying to find a route through for his team.

But the Blue and Yellow soon started making their own forays forward, and found the breakthrough with the game’s first shot on target 26 minutes in.

Yukhym Konoplya collected Victor Tsyhankov’s pass, and played the ball across for Oleksandr Zinchenko to slide in the first goal England had conceded in 330 minutes.

Ukraine continued to make England’s task as difficult as possible, and the visitors struggled to create any meaningful chances, with Jordan Henderson sending a harmless effort over the crossbar.

However, there was finally something for the Three Lions to celebrate in the 40th minute, when prolific goalscorer Harry Kane turned provider with a brilliant ball over for Kyle Walker, who ran behind Vitali Mykolenko and coolly finished to finally register his maiden international goal at the 77th attempt.

After Bellingham and Harry Maguire proved unable to make the most of headed opportunities that fell their way shortly after the break, Bukayo Saka showed his quality by cutting inside Zinchenko and unleashing a venomous strike that Georgi Bushchan did superbly to tip onto the crossbar.

Sensing an opportunity to take three points home, Gareth Southgate turned to Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden after the hour mark, although there was little change to the flow of proceedings, with another Maguire header being comfortably caught as the Blue and Yellow continued to stand strong.

Rashford’s late free-kick at least tested Bushchan, but the goalkeeper palmed it away before bravely reaching a knockdown ahead of Maguire, as Ukraine went a fourth consecutive international unbeaten.

The result ensures they will end the day ahead of Italy, and occupy second place in ECQ Group C. 

England, meanwhile, are still yet to be beaten this campaign and remain top – that said, they have now lost their perfect record, after failing to win any of the last seven matches in which they have gone behind.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Kyle Walker (England)

Ukraine - England player ratings
Ukraine - England player ratingsFlashscore

Check out all the match stats with Flashscore.

Sweden put five past Estonia

Sweden ran out convincing winners as they beat Estonia 5-0 at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn. The Blue and Yellow have now lost just two of their last 10 matches.

Sweden headed into the game having lost 11 of their last 15 away matches (W3, D1), but a visit to their Baltic neighbours Estonia would have been welcomed given their hosts have failed to come out on top in any of their previous meetings. 

This run didn’t look like it was going to end here as Sweden dominated the early proceedings before taking the lead in the 18th minute. The goal came courtesy of Viktor Gyokeres, who latched onto a perfect pass from Linus Wahlqvist before firing a low shot home.

The Blue and Yellow didn’t stop there, doubling their lead just six minutes later after Dejan Kulusevski picked up the ball inside the penalty area and calmly placed it into the bottom corner out of Karl Hein’s reach.

Aleksander Isak got on the scoresheet for Sweden
Aleksander Isak got on the scoresheet for SwedenAFP

Hein’s qualifying campaign hadn't been going as hoped, having conceded six goals in the three prior group F games, and things kept getting worse when Sweden scored their third before the break.

This time, the goalscorer was Alexander Isak, who extends his record of winning in each of his nine international goalscoring appearances, heading home from Ken Sema’s cross.

The prospect of a comeback appeared slim at the break with a three-goal deficit looking too steep for the Blueshirts to overcome, especially considering the fact that just one of Estonia’s previous eight home matches had seen both teams get on the scoresheet.

The game was almost completely put to bed seven minutes after the restart when Emil Forsberg received the ball inside the box, only to be denied by Hein as the Estonia keeper pulled off a fantastic save.

Janne Andersson’s side added a fourth with 15 minutes still to play, as substitute Robin Quaison expertly dispatched his header just inside of the left post.

The Blue and Yellow kept on going and rounded off a dominant display with their fifth goal in added time through Viktor Claesson, as he scored with a header that he directed into the top left corner.

Sweden managed the rest of the game expertly, securing three valuable points in their quest to qualify for a seventh consecutive European Championship tournament. 

Meanwhile, Estonia are staring down the prospect of a second consecutive winless Euro qualifying campaign, having picked up just a solitary point from their opening four games.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden)

Check out all the match stats with Flashscore.

Elsewhere, Andorra and Belarus played out a 0-0 draw.


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