EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Donbass Arena, Ukraine

Attendance: 42000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

France

  • Samir Nasri 39'

1 - 1

FT

England

  • Joleon Lescott 30'
Watch Live on: ESPN, ESPNDeportes, ESPN3.com
  •  

    James Tyler: Find us all on Twitter also:
    @rogbennett
    @JamesTylerESPN
    @R_Ubha

    Thanks all for your comments, wit and insight. See you back here tomorrow!

  •  

    James Tyler: Please join us tomorrow for POLAND v. RUSSIA in a massive game (not even counting the soccer).

  •  

    James Tyler: Alright, I'm under orders to power down. No live chat for Ukraine-Sweden as I'm in charge of the post-game review. Thanks very much for following along, and thanks to our superb Stats and Info team for taking part. Same to Roger Bennett and Ravi Ubha also.

  •  

    James Tyler: Scouser: if they keep progressing through the tournament, it won't matter. A big if, granted.

  •  

    [Comment from Scouser]
    That's a good point, and to that I would concede that yes, it worked. But what needs to happen for them to transcend this settling for draws dullness to reach champion caliber play?

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Yann M'vila did not come off the bench for France against England. M'vila led all French players in passes completed (643), passes attempted (730), tackles (12) and pass interceptions (24) in EURO 2012 Qualifying.

  •  

    James Tyler: Scouser, I think it's a philosophical argument. As a team, is your responsibility to play with style? Wenger would say yes. But I'd argue otherwise. England came into this tournament with a limited squad and very little time for a rather dull manager to get it together. This is a good result for England. Hodgson's tactics -- or lack thereof -- worked.

  •  

    [Comment from Scouser]
    I mean obviously they should be pleased with the result as France clearly displayed a more talented side, but losing in tournaments doesn't appear to be "working" to me.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hard to say right now, Eric. Let the dust settle for a day and we'll see. I'd expect Walcott might get more than 90 seconds of jogging.

  •  

    [Comment from Eric]
    Any change to the England starting lineup vs. Sweden?

  •  

    James Tyler: After those games on Saturday, so would I, Charles. Germany v. Netherlands on Wednesday just got a massive boost of added spice.

  •  

    [Comment from Charles]
    Would love to see Denmark advance.

  •  

    James Tyler: In the group stage, points = works. England came in unfavored against France and neutered its front line. Hodgson will be happy. Most English fans will be happy.

  •  

    [Comment from Scouser]
    You keep carrying on about how England's dull play "works", but what is your definition of wrorks? It's clearly not winning.

  •  

    James Tyler: Very much so, Sputnik. Good eye there. I just filed a piece for tomorrow morning that speaks to that point exactly. Very surprising tournament thus far for a number of reasons.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France extends its world-leading unbeaten streak to 22 straight games. England avoided losing four straight matches to the same team for the first time since Brazil from 1964-76.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    Interesting how the "top" teams haven't looked all the impressive so far (Spain, Holland, Germany, France, Portugal). Best top 10 team may have been Denmark?

  •  

    James Tyler: It's that use of "expensive" that proves my half-baked point, Rob. Man City's owners have spent close to a billion dollars since taking over the club in 2008. A billion dollars.

  •  

    [Comment from Rob (Chicago)]
    I don't see a connection b/w oil money and playing style either. Man City won with a pretty rigid counterattacking system, no? A very expensive rigid counterattacking system.

  •  

    James Tyler: Maybe not, Man U, but Ribery? Nasri? Benzema? That's an all-world front three. And for the most part, the English muzzled it.

  •  

    [Comment from Man U]
    JT, dull is one thing but they were dominated by a French team not even the Top 5 in Europe.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeff Carlisle will be at that game also.

  •  

    James Tyler: Join us tomorrow for that one. I'm thinking it might be that 3-3 game you get in every big tournament that catches everyone unawares.

  •  

    James Tyler: Alright folks, confirmation on our next live chat: RUSSIA v. POLAND. Could be a real humdinger -- and not just because of their off-field tension.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Statsie's Men Of The Match are Samir Nasri for France (led France in touches in the final third, and goals, of course) and Joe Hart for England (more saves today than he had in any Euro 2012 Qualifier).

  •  

    James Tyler: Because, Man U, so few of the top EPL teams regularly use a ton of English players. But we're getting off-track here. Is England vilified for playing like this? Sure, it's dull. But it works.

  •  

    [Comment from Man U]
    Considering the EPL is considered one of the top 2 leagues in the world. Why does England always looks second rate.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Joe Hart made 6 saves for England today. The most he made in qualifying was 5, against Switzerland at Wembley.

  •  

    [Comment from Charles]
    I think 3 points would of helped prove that, JT. But A. I didn't get to see the match, B. Plenty of time for all teams to right the ship. Wish yall we're doing another game today.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'll go with Cabaye. As incisive as anyone for Les Bleus. Nasri faded towards the end. Not convinced by Ribery.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    So whyo's your MOTM?

  •  

    James Tyler: Despite FIFA or rich oil sheikhs buying teams having an influence, this is still a game for all types and all teams.

  •  

    [Comment from Green]
    Right on, James. Every team has to have the confidence that they can win it. Greece in 2004 helped it.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France's 140 passes completed in the final third is the second-most at EURO 2012. Spain had 163 against Italy.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rob: fair point, but there's as much merit in an underdog team battling to glory than there is some tiki-taka flair collective doing the same. Just as good for the game, honestly.

  •  

    [Comment from Rob (Chicago)]
    Survival footy is admirable, but I'm not salivating at the prospect of a Euro 2004 type champion.

  •  

    James Tyler: Of course, Charles. I still think Les Bleus are favorites to top the group.

  •  

    [Comment from Charles]
    Do you think france has a good chance to get out of this group?

  •  

    [Comment from shaun]
    see that, today mvp is again STATSIE

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Nasri & Ribery finished with 105 touches in the attacking third. England finished with 99.

  •  

    James Tyler: Exactly, Dan. It's survival footy. Doing the best you can with what you have.

  •  

    [Comment from Dan]
    To be fair to Roy... it's not like he has the talent to play an open style at the moment (Wilshere, Walker, Lampard, Rooney etc all out)

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France is the first team at EURO 2012 with at least 300 touches on the left side of the field (319).

  •  

    James Tyler: I thought he did well. Little in the way of reliable service yet dropped deep enough and forced three or four good saves from Joe Hart.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Half-time show between England-France and Ukraine-Sweden. A performance of Tom Jones' 'Sex Bomb'.

  •  

    [Comment from Pt]
    I wonder which game James was watching. The real madrid game? Benzema was not playing like a striker. He was like a false number 9. Yuks.

  •  

    James Tyler: Danny: no live chat for Sweden/Ukraine (though I'm in charge of the post-game report), but we'll likely be back here tomorrow for Poland v. Russia, which could be the pivotal game in Group A. Then we'll have live chats for both Group B games on Wednesday. Keep checking ESPNFC.com for that info.

  •  

    [Comment from Danny]
    When is the next game and are you guys gouing to be doing the chat as well?

  •  

    James Tyler: Yet, as Roberto Martinez said in studio, if it means success, then who's to argue?

  •  

    James Tyler: For England, "the team" played well in that they got a point. A precious, precious point. This is England. This is Hodgson. We should have expected it.

  •  

    James Tyler: I think Benzema did as well as anyone. Yohan Cabaye too. And Mathieu Debuchy. Not too impressed with Ribery, all told. Failed to flex his influence against a defensively suspect Glen Johnson.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    Johnson and Nasri - players of game?

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Job eye-bleedingly done. Because England was never at the Euros to win style points. #euro2012

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: For those curious, the UEFA Coefficient is down the list of official tiebreakers. So England (#1 overall) are ahead of France (#6 overall) in the group.

  •  

    James Tyler: Well done, THREE LIONZZZZZ

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    The bongo roll signals that Roy's plan nearly worked. They just scored too early. And now it's time for the dancing girls.

  •  

    James Tyler: Dullest second half of the tournament so far, as a commenter said a minute ago.

  •  

    [Comment from stretch]
    Smashing game, if you like to smash your head into your desk.

  •  

    James Tyler: Meanwhile, Laurent Blanc will issue Le Hairdryer to his Bleus in the dressing room. All that possession and territorial dominance yet just one goal.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Result justifies the uninspired means for Roy Hodgson's England but can they simply up a gear to beat Sweden?

  •  

    James Tyler: So, chance missed for France but Hodgson will feel like a job well done. A point against a dangerous foe and gives them plenty of bandwidth to attack against Ukraine and Sweden (don't laugh).

  •  

    [Comment from Travis]
    How big was that miss by Milner? Could've been a different story.

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Good first half... second half was the worst of the tournament so far.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Well played defensively in the second half.

  •  

    [Comment from dean]
    statsie was the MVP today (signed, statsie's dad)

  •  

    [Comment from Michael]
    England gets three draws, 1-1, and comes in 3rd on goal differential.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: FULL TIME. There's your lot. France 1, England 1.

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Benzema, from nothing, has a crack from 30 yards and it almost catches Hart off-guard. Tricky bounce for Hart but he smothered it.

  •  

    [Comment from Jim]
    I'll take the Under all day

  •  

    [Comment from Eric]
    Under

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Under

  •  

    [Comment from rusty]
    UNDER!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: A: taking the Under. A goal a game is the English way. No more, no less. Any more would be ostentatious and rude.

  •  

    [Comment from A]
    Over/Under 3.5 goals for England in the Group stage?

  •  

    [Comment from Ben Lee]
    My Paraguay/England Parallel is still in play.

  •  

    [Comment from Ian]
    DO SOMETHING!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Patrice Evra with a rare sighting in the England half. Martin works it from left to right, England packs in tight behind the ball.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    #ThreeLionzzzzzzzzz

  •  

    James Tyler: THREE MINUTES OF ADDED TIME.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Walcott for Welbeck in 90th minute. The epitome of the time-wasting late switch.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Wayne Rooney's hair could now be described as a "Hervé Villechaize"

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR ENGLAND: Danny Welbeck off, Theo Walcott on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Less than a minute of regular time. Theo Walcott waits patiently for a break in play so he can get some exercise.

  •  

    James Tyler: No. Gerrard's out-swinger is cleared.

  •  

    James Tyler: Low cross is cut out by Mexes for an England corner! Can the Three Lions smash-and-grab?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Peter Dinklage's birthday today. I wonder if he is watching

  •  

    James Tyler: I think Benzema's played well. Been industrious and had plenty of chances. Lacked the service at times, though that's more on Ribery/Nasri.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Philippe Mexes = latterday Mickey Rourke. #euro2012

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    How's Karim playing?

  •  

    James Tyler: Lovely play by Glen Johnson to dispossess Ribery and shift the ball upfield.

  •  

    [Comment from Jack]
    #StatsieDropsWisdom

  •  

    James Tyler: Statsie with more superbly insightful numbers. Thanks, Statsie! Tells you the story of the game: France swarming England's penalty area, will rue the lack of incision thus far.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France now has the most touches in the attacking third of any team in the tournament (298, passing Spain's 296).

  •  

    James Tyler: THREE MINUTES REMAINING

  •  

    James Tyler: Ben Arfa can't get through on the right flank and concedes a foul.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Mexes looks like the runt of Khal Drog's litter

  •  

    James Tyler: Benzema and Ribery try to generate something on the edge of the box but the Three Lions clear. Hardly stirring stuff in this second half from either side. One senses that the longer the game has gone on, the more content England has been to play for a vital point.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Jordan: my England hell?

  •  

    James Tyler: I'd take it, Alex.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Shades of Stevie G in the FA Cup, eh Rog?

  •  

    James Tyler: Love Marvin Martin. Was a titan for struggling Sochaux last season. Another man who could get a big-money transfer soon.

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    That was going in from Benzema

  •  

    James Tyler: Another French corner but cleared. Swung back into the mixer again but Benzema's curling shot appears destined for the top corner... only Gerrard gets his noble noggin in the way and it's another France corner.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: England need to maintain their organization and concentration here

  •  

    Roger Bennett: if england win... arise Sir Roy. 20,000 babies to be called Roy by march 2013. and that Jordan Hendo piledriver from 40 yards that wins the game will be the stuff of legend

  •  

    James Tyler: Blanc is GOING FOR IT.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUBS FOR FRANCE: Cabaye and Malouda off, Ben Arfa and Marvin Martin on.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    France has over double the touches in the attacking third. 190-90 as of three mins ago. (via @PCarrESPN stats team)

  •  

    James Tyler: I can only assume Barton is being sarcastic given Rooney's suspension. What sparkling with from the QPR thug/captain!

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: England has 8 turnovers in the defense half, France has 3.

  •  

    [Comment from btings]
    Joey Barton on twitter: "Hope Hodgson brings Rooney on now. Needs freshening up a bit."

  •  

    James Tyler: England lump it up the other end but Jermain Defoe is alone and can't hold up the ball until reinforcements arrive.

  •  

    James Tyler: Panic for England as Debuchy worms free of his marker on the right side but his cross is cleared before Benzema can pounce!

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France's lead in attacking third touches has now reached triple digits. France has 190 touches, England has 90.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Rog, what happens if England win? Other than about 1,000,000 heart attacks in Europe...

  •  

    James Tyler: Lloris does well to pluck a near-post cross out of the air.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good point, Roger. Hindsight is 20/20, etc. You can see the storylines already etched in stone, win, lose or draw.

  •  

    James Tyler: This time, Joe Hart catches the in-swinger from Nasri, and Three Lions fans relax.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: My god that was close. if score holds, Hodgson is brilliant. if england lose, he is a lackluster tactician. football a game of inches

  •  

    James Tyler: Mexes misses his header and Cabaye's volley from the edge of the box is deflected wide by Welbeck for another corner. Had Welbeck not touched it, I think France would be up 2-1.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nasri swings it in well but England clear and Cabaye's shot is deflected out for another corner. Les Bleus looking to steal a win here... TEN MINUTES REMAINING.

  •  

    James Tyler: Free-kick for France on the left flank.

  •  

    James Tyler: Scenes as Franck Ribery tumbles under duress from Glen Johnson. Ribery claims a vicious elbow; replay shows that Johnson's arm was raised but Ribery sort of ran into it.

  •  

    James Tyler: @Gudg: Barton is too busy musing on Twitter to actually turn up. Plus he'd just get himself sent off. It's not easy being Joey.

  •  

    [Comment from Gudg]
    Watch out for Joey Barton invading the pitch...

  •  

    [Comment from Ben]
    Good idea, take off the midfielder who's actually been contributing.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: A follow-up to an earlier note on players from the same club scoring for opposing countries at the Euros: we've dug through the records and found another instance. Anderlecht's Kenneth Brylle (Denmark) and Frank Vercauteren (Belgium) pulled the feat at Euro 1984 in Denmark's 3-2 win.

  •  

    James Tyler: The dashing, gallant Scott Parker removed. The Spurs midfielder didn't see that coming. Neither did we.

  •  

    [Comment from dean]
    and so begins the national team of liverpool

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Oh, my. Henderson on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jordan. Henderson. England.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR ENGLAND: Scott Parker off, JORDAN HENDERSON ON.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Jermain Defoe is a very, very brave bloke.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR ENGLAND: Oxlade-Chamberlain off, Jermain Defoe on. As Ravi said, a game-winning goal for Defoe would be a great story following the death of his father just last week.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: This game has less goalmouth action than West German-Austria 1982 World Cup. And that one was fixed

  •  

    James Tyler: On replay, looked like Patrice Evra just bundled him down. Not a foul but Milner does seem shaken up.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good ball forward for James Milner and he does well to control it off his chest, but he falls over with the French defender nearby and Les Bleus clear. Milner is slow to get up.

  •  

    James Tyler: Ribery forces a low near-post save from Hart.

  •  

    James Tyler: No Andrei Shevchenko for the Ukraine this afternoon. He's not fully fit, according to early reports.

  •  

    James Tyler: Two half-chances! Ribery plays Benzema through on goal but it's swept off his foot before he can shoot. Then England breaks via Oxlade-Chamberlain but he can't shoot on target.

  •  

    James Tyler: Actually, Joshua, it might well be. Both sides will know they're underdogs to progress and as such, we might see an open game similar to Croatia-Ireland yesterday. Look for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to try and shed his reputation of underperforming in big games. Rasmus Elm's a nifty, elegant central midfielder, too. On the Ukraine side, Yarmolenko and Konoplanka are wonderfully pacey wingers.

  •  

    [Comment from Joshua]
    James do you think the sweden ukraine game will be more exciting and who should i watch for in that game i don't know much about the 2 sides?

  •  

    James Tyler: Free-kick is hoofed long but Debuchy clears. As Sir Ian Darke points out, the French right-back has played well today.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Defoe about to come on. Great story if he scores the winner.

  •  

    [Comment from Patrick]
    I like the effort, but the greek defense seemed more organised eight years ago.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nice run by Oxlade-Chamberlain, eluding two French defenders before finally being halted by Franck Ribery. He had room to run, there...

  •  

    [Comment from Winlar]
    This half put Wilford Brimley to sleep. Needs a twist.

  •  

    James Tyler: Thanks, Statsie!

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Scott Parker leads England in touches with 59. Six French players have more than that, led by Samir Nasri's 77.

  •  

    James Tyler: Did you expect anything different, Guest? #ThisIsEngland

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    Most underwhelming match of Euror 2012 so far.

  •  

    James Tyler: Let's see some subs, Roy. Same for you, Laurent. Game's getting a bit stale.

  •  

    James Tyler: Benzema is waylaid by Scott Parker at the edge of the box. Now Ashley Young clatters the Real Madrid striker after the ball is gone. YELLOW CARD.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France's passing currently sits at 87.3 percent (414-474). It's the fourth-most completed passes in a match at Euro 2012 and would be the highest percentage.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    Stasie, please throw us a bone. James is ad-libbing here...

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Scott Parker: A man among boys

  •  

    [Comment from Dan]
    Scottie parker: Ow.

  •  

    James Tyler: TWENTY MINUTES LEFT.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Parker takes one for england. Roy's gameplan of giving up possession on the edge of england area is holding up though...

  •  

    James Tyler: Parker charges down a ripping shot from long range. Funny that France's game plan appears to involve lots of shots from distance.

  •  

    James Tyler: Statsie: can you tell us who has the most touches on both teams thus far? Thinking Mexes/Rami must be up there, given the amount of casual knocking it around Les Bleus are doing at the back.

  •  

    [Comment from fats]
    france 1998/2000

  •  

    [Comment from Ben]
    Oh, to have Kyle Walker rampaging down the right flank instead of Johnson.

  •  

    James Tyler: Yes, Jeremy; Spain in 2008/2010. They're bidding to become the first team ever to go back-to-back-to-back.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeremy]
    Has a team ever won the Euro cup then the World cup in a row? Or vice versa?

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Defoe and Carroll warming up.... please say it isn't Carroll

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner for France after Ashley Cole nods a harmless far-post cross behind. Joe Hart confidently vacates his six-yard box to pluck it out the air.

  •  

    James Tyler: Please, if my maths is poor, understand I'm calculating on the fly here.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Andy Carroll warming up. which means he is quickly guzzling two cheesedogs. Rod Strickland style.

  •  

    James Tyler: It's probably a decent percentage. Normally -- and obviously goal difference comes into play here -- but five points is your target. Most of the time it's good enough to advance.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeremy]
    Whats the % of making it to the next round if you win the opener? I thought I remember it being like 80+% or something like that.

  •  

    [Comment from Rob]
    Johnson doing a 'Robben'...

  •  

    James Tyler: Glen Johnson skips infield from the right and has a crack with his left-foot. However it's skied into the stands. Nice thought though. Better than anything the English have mustered since about the 25th minute.

  •  

    James Tyler: Does my forehead count?

  •  

    [Comment from Luke P]
    Touch ALL the wood, James...

  •  

    James Tyler: Not so sure it's being scared, Joshua. Just the opening game of a big tournament. Want to secure a point and move on.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Benzema bangs ball to bongos.

  •  

    [Comment from Joshua]
    James why is England scared to play with France they seem to have the better defenders and keeper and there midfield and attackers aren't awful?

  •  

    James Tyler: Joe Hart: he's no Rob Green (yet... please no don't pull a Greenie)

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Great snapshot by Benzema from 25 yards, really vicious strike, but Hart tracks it and saves low to his right. Good save.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Hart did well to hang onto that

  •  

    James Tyler: Les Bleus slowing the game to a crawl on purpose, it seems. As for England, that snail's pace tempo is just how they play.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: In the Second Half, France has more touches in England's half of the field than their own.

  •  

    James Tyler: So, England starting to enjoy a bit more possession, but it's all in their own half. Given away to Benzema and he tries to release Ribery down the left but Gerrard intercepts. All very sleepy at the moment. 27 minutes remaining...

  •  

    James Tyler: ... it's overhit.

  •  

    James Tyler: Terry gets a far-post header from a rare corner but it's blocked. Another corner to come, and Gerrard preps to tee off...

  •  

    [Comment from Zooey]
    Eriksen

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Debuchy from this game

  •  

    [Comment from John McClain]
    JAMES McCLEAN!!!

  •  

    [Comment from Scouser]
    Shirokov

  •  

    James Tyler: England trying to forge some kind of attack but it's all very dismal looking. Ribery is down and "in pain" as Gerrard and Milner sandwich the winger into giving up the ball.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex M]
    Lewandowski.

  •  

    [Comment from stretch]
    Mats Hummels, Jeremy

  •  

    [Comment from Steve]
    Possibly an Anderson Cooper giggle.

  •  

    James Tyler: Another Russkie, Alan Dzagoev. Had been linked to United after he scored a glorious goal for CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford in the Champions League a couple of years back. He'll get a big money move in due course, I reckon.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeremy]
    Name a player who isn't a household name right now that people will remember after this Euro 2012 tournament. (like an Arshavin from 08')

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: This is the first time in the history of the European Championship that two players from the same club have scored for opposing countries in the same match.

  •  

    James Tyler: Mexes lets Glen Johnson skip past before Ribery comes in to nudge the full-back off the ball. England players demand a free-kick. Ref gives a France throw-in. C'est la vie.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Can you name a sound more beautiful to the ear than a Sir Ian Darke giggle?

  •  

    James Tyler: Weirdly, yes, I do. Some height, some muscle. Mexes and Rami are vulnerable but England aren't getting the right pressure there.

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    Do you really want Andy Carrol on the pitch?

  •  

    James Tyler: Wayne Rooney's suspension carries through the next game. He'll make a triumphant return for the third and final group game.

  •  

    James Tyler: A 4-2-3-1 normally works when you have gifted, creative midfielders. England has James Milner.

  •  

    James Tyler: Normally I cringe at mentions of the 4-4-2 but something has to give here.

  •  

    [Comment from Steve E]
    England should go to a 4-4-2 take replace Milner for Carroll.

  •  

    James Tyler: It means he's being eaten up. Gobbled. Consumed. Devoured.

  •  

    [Comment from Danimal]
    I have no idea what "snaffled alive" means, but it doesn't sound good. It makes me think of truffles, somehow.

  •  

    James Tyler: ... and Nasri's in-swinger is cleared.

  •  

    James Tyler: Scrappy passage of play to open the second half. Nasri cuts it infield for Benzema but his shot is blocked by 2-3 English defenders. Ball breaks to Diarra down the left wing and his dangerous low cross is cut out by Gerrard. Nice play by Ribery to spring Diarra free on the flank. Corner to France...

  •  

    James Tyler: Alex, it would be nice. England's 5-man midfield is too grimly unimaginative and two strikers at least puts pressure on an opposing team. Welbeck is being snaffled alive by Mexes/Rami thus far. Two on one. I thought Hodgson could do simple maths.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: England are tactically evolving before our very eyes

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Do you think England could ever play with 2 strikers? Welbeck/Carroll or Rooney/Carroll?

  •  

    James Tyler: CRIES FOR A PENALTY! The fans whistle and boo but really, the contact was lamentably minor. Overcooked by England.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Englishmen DONT dive

  •  

    [Comment from Le Poulet]
    France is playing beautifully- a vast improvement from the World Cup. KUDOS to Blanc!

  •  

    James Tyler: Gerrard booms a deep free-kick into the right corner for Glen Johnson, who wins a throw-in but little else. Welbeck does well not to lose possession but England knock the ball all the way back to Terry/Lescott. Goal's up that end, lads!

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Andy Carroll reportedly downed a plate of veal stew and a flaggon of ale at half time to get in the mood should he be needed

  •  

    James Tyler: Correct, Rob. Mandzukic won the aerial battle, Jelavic's off-the-ball running opened up room for Modric/Rakitic. Of course, that's assuming England has similar attacking quality but Les Bleus look far too comfortable.

  •  

    [Comment from Rob (Chicago)]
    Croatia for tips = double target men?

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    Any chance big pony-tail boy goes in?

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Hodgson should have watched Croatia for tips; big striker/little striker, let them link merrily all afternoon.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    This game a fascinating ideological clash of styles: French (possession/pass and move) versus England (Get Stuck In!/Huff and Puff)

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Had no pace on it and no one around him.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Mexes has never got over watching Mad Max.

  •  

    James Tyler: Mexes knocks a cross behind for an English corner....

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: How does Mexes not clear that ball easily?

  •  

    James Tyler: Thinking it's another striker, Danny. Hodgson should have been watching Croatia for tips.

  •  

    [Comment from Danny]
    Predictions for the first English sub?

  •  

    James Tyler: Hang about, a backpass to Hart is nearly intercepted but the keeper recovers.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Young's reputation preceeding him? Clear hand on him by Diarra. Should have been a foul.

  •  

    [Comment from Danimal]
    Plenty of time for bloody head wounds yet...

  •  

    James Tyler: More French possession in the England third as Hodgson's men sit at least eight behind the ball. Two banks of four.

  •  

    James Tyler: Seems that way, NYCToon. But to take advantage, England actually needs to get the ball close to them.

  •  

    [Comment from NYCToon]
    seems like the French CB's are England's best chance at winning this

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Rog your typing shows you got into Boddingtons and wafers early to calm the nerves.

  •  

    James Tyler: Agreed, Rog. He's the new Terry Butcher, minus the bloody head wound.

  •  

    James Tyler: Ribery and Parker have a "tussle" early on. Parker feigns a punch to the face. France resets with the ball being stroked around the back four.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Noone does bloodied and heroic better than Socttie Parker

  •  

    [Comment from lady and the tramp]
    blanc v. uncle woy looks like two financial accountants battling EU tax law.

  •  

    [Comment from Joshua]
    may god be with the english mens boots

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: We're off again!

  •  

    James Tyler: Rooney would give Mexes and Rami something to actually worry about. Welbeck full of running but lacking Rooney's intelligence. He's also not tracking back much as Roo tends to do these days.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: "In Roy we Trust." That is Roy out of Seigfrid and Roy right?

  •  

    [Comment from Rivers from North Carolin]
    Any thoughts as to how a Rooney presence would effect this match?

  •  

    James Tyler: A nice banner, that. IN ROY WE TRUST. How do you lot feel?

  •  

    [Comment from Winlar]
    Rog, any lines of WWI poetry to inspire the troops?

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    "Shut down Wibewy and Naswi" - Hodgson

  •  

    [Comment from Chris Valle (CA/USA)]
    Heaven and Earth wait - Each blade of grass stands ready - RELEASE THE WAL-COTT!

  •  

    James Tyler: Absolutely, guest. The Dutch face Germany this week knowing they need a win somehow. How's that for pressure?

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    So, is Netherlands panicking then?

  •  

    James Tyler: Agree, Rog. there's no harmony between front 3 (Young, Welbeck, Ox) and the slew of workmanlike cloggers behind them

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Two lines of four are a given. What he does with Young and Wellbeck to spring a jail break is a major concern. England are essentially operating without a playmaker

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    I am sure Adrian Chiles and co are very interesting but I am now watching a Polish ball-juggling half-time show to follow the band.

  •  

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I wonder what Roy is saying to the boys right now?

  •  

    [Comment from Stuck at work]
    Pretenders 1-1 / skilled powers will destroy / weakness everywhere

  •  

    James Tyler: Sputnik: of course you panic if you lose. With just three group games, it only amplifies the already crippling pressure.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    Does the loser of this game panic? How's the rest of the group?

  •  

    James Tyler: All superb examples of the haiku form. I think.

  •  

    [Comment from Danimal]
    Many commentors / Seem bored by the matches and / Only discuss hair

  •  

    [Comment from Chris Valle (CA/USA)]
    no reason to fear - scores level and time to play - I hate John Terry

  •  

    [Comment from Haiku]
    English tradition/goalie beaten to near post/sunrise sunset rolltide

  •  

    [Comment from Steve]
    Surely England can't endure that kind of pressure for another 45 minutes. What changes do you expect?

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    And this is them in action. The Cup of Life indeed.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Join us for the second half: @rogbennett @R_ubha and me in chat http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/story/_/id/8034684/england-vs-france

  •  

    [Comment from Lesley]
    Three Lions roaring/Lost their voice, now a pipsqueak/Can they roar again?

  •  

    James Tyler: Disagree, TottBot as he seemed way off-balance. Think he had time to steady and take a better shot.

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Looking back at the highlights, Milner should have hit that ball first-time.

  •  

    [Comment from Andy]
    First Half Haiku: England has scored first; The French pressed hard then scored one; England shaken up

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: First-half touches in the final third
    France 121
    England 37

    Nasri & Ribery combined have 57.

  •  

    [Comment from CB]
    That's a terrible haiku, Roger.

  •  

    [Comment from PK]
    I'd like to see the English keep that underdog mentality. As soon as this team built up some confidence it forgot how fragile it is

  •  

    [Comment from Travis]
    Good thing for England there was just a minute of stoppage time

  •  

    Roger Bennett: 1st half possession by 1/4 hour: 0-15 min 54%-46%; 15-30 mins 54%-46%; 30-45 mins 69%-31%

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    Just to get in the spirit of the Euros, an African band are performing Ricky Martin songs at half-time between England and France in Warsaw.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    England looks more disjointed than AMC's "The Killing." Half time, a welcome respite.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Happy with that first half scoreline
    New fear: France will have a plan B. England not so much

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Agreed, Ravi. AND THERE IT IS. Nicely poised. England started brightly but faded. Nasri's goal made them reach for the life-rafts. Ravi and Roger will handle the next few minutes while I put my son to be. Keep your comments and haikus coming! I'll be back shortly... ENGLAND 1, FRANCE 1.

  •  

    James Tyler: One minute of added time is almost up...

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Great half.

  •  

    James Tyler: England looking ragged.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Touches in the Attacking Third: Ribery & Nasri - 43, England - 37 (via @PCarrESPN's stats team)

  •  

    James Tyler: Good stat, Statsie!

  •  

    James Tyler: Another corner for France as Cabaye's long-range shot is deflected wide by Gerrard.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Touches in the attacking third:
    Ribery & Nasri 43
    England 37

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    England needs halftime so Hodgson can revise his Tower of London formation.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Mechanic's of England's transition game will be crucial here. If they can tighten their execution there will be goals here

  •  

    James Tyler: Indeed, Larry. The whistle would be nice. Roy needs to redraw his plans.

  •  

    [Comment from Larry]
    Feels like England's hanging on for the halftime whistle...

  •  

    James Tyler: At the other side Debuchy glides past Oxlade-Chamberlain but his cross is blocked. England tries to break but is sat so deep in its own half that France quickly regain possession.

  •  

    James Tyler: Ribery has another cross blocked. Pressure building again at England's end, but Ribery tries to dribble between two defenders and treads on the ball.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Nasri's goal is the first one from outside the penalty area at EURO 2012.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: England need HT.

  •  

    James Tyler: Now, panic for England as Ribery burns past Gerrard on the left flank, but his cross is turned behind for a corner by John Terry.

  •  

    James Tyler: Cabaye will be next to see yellow if he keeps fouling...

  •  

    Roger Bennett: That goal came just as I typed into my game notes "Pessimism serves England well"

  •  

    [Comment from Mark]
    How was that not a booking if Ox's was?

  •  

    James Tyler: Another foul in the middle by Cabaye to stop an attack. Cynical, but smart.

  •  

    [Comment from JohnBrewinESPN via Twitter]
    France score and the bongos sound. Joe Hart unlucky there, I think. Roy tried to lock it down. It didn't work.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: You think? I thought it wasn't bad.

  •  

    [Comment from Kevin (NY)]
    Would've liked to see Gerrard do better there...

  •  

    James Tyler: Yes, Ravi -- Germany vs. Portugal

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Have we had one boring game yet this tourney?

  •  

    [Comment from Travis]
    Manchester City 2 Everyone else 0

  •  

    [Comment from Adam]
    Two City players!

  •  

    [Comment from Kreed]
    NASRIIIIIIIIII

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Nasri looked in the mood from the moment he went racing in to challenge Cole in the first few minutes.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good work around the left side of the box as it's worked back to Nasri, and his curled right-footed shot creeps inside Hart's near post. Gerrard culpable in not closing down the City midfielder quicker there. Lovely finish.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Cut to Fabio Capello's man cave. Don Fabio leans back in his La-Z-Boy uncorks a bottle of Super Tuscan and raises a glass to Sami Nasri

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL FOR FRANCE! SAMIR NASRI!

  •  

    James Tyler: Think about it, folks. It distracts the eye of any opponent through on goal. Makes them fluff their shots. Clever design.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    Could the goale color sported by Hart be less menacing? Powder lime aqua blend?

  •  

    James Tyler: Ribery tries to find Malouda on the left side of the box but England clear. Long ball for Benzema is easy pickings for the English defense.

  •  

    [Comment from Larry]
    Scottie P has the best hair in the world.

  •  

    James Tyler: 8 minutes left until half-time. France rattled but far from dead yet.

  •  

    [Comment from Eric (GFOP)]
    Let's all be honest Scottie P has the best hair of the tourney.

  •  

    [Comment from Nick Christie (GFOP)]
    Alan Davies calls Joe Hart "Transformer." He looked it then. Strong and Machine-like in goal.

  •  

    James Tyler: Cabaye fouls Parker in the middle of the England half to alleviate the pressure on the Three Lions a bit.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Second header better chance than the first. First header straight at Hart, and you would have expected him to keep that one out, me thinks.

  •  

    James Tyler: Yes, Rivers from North Carolina meant Spain, but still a salient point. Cromulent, even.

  •  

    [Comment from Joshua]
    Hart comes up big

  •  

    James Tyler: Nasri swings it in but what a save by Joe Hart! Great header inside the box by Diarra but Hart parries and then puts his second header wide following great work by Ribery to keep it in play.

  •  

    [Comment from Rivers from North Carolin]
    Reminds me of Italy-France yesterday. One team possessing, the other counter-attacking.

  •  

    James Tyler: YELLOW CARD for Ox there.

  •  

    James Tyler: Free-kick to France as Oxlade-Chamberlain swipes far too much of Debuchy. Similar position as the free-kick from which England scored, albeit down the other end.

  •  

    James Tyler: Well, then. How will the French respond?

  •  

    [Comment from English Nation]
    We will start believe now.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Yesterday it was Iker Casillas taking one full in the face to deny a goal. Today Lescott does it to score.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Lescott is the first Manchester City player to score at the European Championship.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: it did. Lescott nosed that in. That's commitment

  •  

    James Tyler: Lloris caught in two minds there. Ended up being both out of position to stop ball on the line and unable to punch at it.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Good point.

  •  

    [Comment from TrapperKeeper]
    Where was Lloris there??? He hit that inside the 6!

  •  

    [Comment from Al]
    Thank god they had Ribery in that wall to step out of the way of the ball.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: England is 6-3-4 when scoring first at the European Championships.

  •  

    James Tyler: Now, I said England would score first. I hope I'm wrong in that I said France would then score twice.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Did that come off his nose?

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Maybe the injuries helped: Lescott wouldn't have been in the team had Cahill been fit.

  •  

    [Comment from French unity]
    I'll start falling apart, now.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    It's like a Modified Route One goal! But they all count! #englandvfrance

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Diarra culpable.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Set piece header. This is Greece 2004 all over again, I tell you...

  •  

    [Comment from Kevin (NY)]
    Somebody from Middle Earth just scored!!!

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    2005 Stevie G!

  •  

    [Comment from Chris Valle (California)]
    EN-GER-LAAAND!

  •  

    [Comment from TrapperKeeper]
    WHAT A BALL BY GERRARD!!!

  •  

    [Comment from Phil Collins]
    LESCOTT!!

  •  

    James Tyler: The English press must be erupting with glee! Long free-kick boomed in by Gerrard, Lescott gets behind his marker and powers a header past Lloris from six yards. Alou Diarra let him past.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: That is Joleon Lescott's first goal for England.

  •  

    James Tyler: It's JOLEON LESCOTT!!!

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL FOR ENGLAND!!!!!

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Hodgson was never, ever going to start three recognized wingers together. Couldn't take that chance, especially with the wild card that's the Ox.

  •  

    [Comment from bill]
    has gerrard looked like the 2005 or 2012 version so far?

  •  

    James Tyler: Yes and no, Gudg. I think Hodgson is trying to play to his squad's strength. A 4-2-3-1 is flexible and allows for reasonable transition between defense and attack. Whether they execute is the million dollar question.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: HODGSON CAM! "The Thinker"

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Zinedine Zidane's injury-time winner against England at EURO 2004 was also the last time France scored a goal in it's opening match at the last 3 major tournaments.

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    oh James Milner. How did he get in the starting lineup in the first place?

  •  

    [Comment from Gudg]
    Has Hodgson imposed his very rigid formation on this English squad?

  •  

    James Tyler: Debuchy gets to the byline but his cut-back is right at Joe Hart. England bomb forward quickly up the right flank and win a throw-in for their troubles.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Benzema just telling Cabaye there he shouldn't have hit the ball over the top. Wanted it played on the ground.

  •  

    [Comment from Jeff]
    Statsie... Shots? Possesion? Appear about even....

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Ribery, Nasri, Benzema is probably the best attacking trio in the tournament since Villa is out and Torres is being typical.

  •  

    James Tyler: Welbeck bears down on Mexes but the liability of a defender dispossesses the United striker.

  •  

    James Tyler: Very delicately balanced game thus far. France content to Arsenal it around the box without much end product. England limited moving forward but are creating more dangerous chances. Just not many of them.

  •  

    James Tyler: Clever idea by Gerrard looking for Milner behind Evra with the angled pass, but it's cleared.

  •  

    [Comment from TrapperKeeper]
    Hart's jersey looks kind of...1994

  •  

    [Comment from Michael]
    Roger - are we doing "Charge of the Light Brigade" this year?

  •  

    [Comment from CB]
    Roger, is this the resistible force meets the moveable object?

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: 20 minutes left in the First Half and France creating more pressure yet it's England with the best chance so far: Milner missing a wide open goal from a narrow angle having rounded Lloris.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Odd watching an England game without the buglers playing the theme from Great Escape

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France is almost doubling England in touches in the attacking third (37-19).

  •  

    James Tyler: French starting to settle in the English half. But England do backs-against-the-wall defending better than anyone.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: This game is phenomenally balance. France magical going forward matched up against England's competent defense. Englands raw forward line against a wobbly french backline

  •  

    James Tyler: Benzema get it to Nasri at the top of the box. Les Bleus work it wide and then Ashley Cole clears the back-post cross intended for Ribery.

  •  

    James Tyler: Milner's a bit of a do-all midfielder. Plays all over the place and I think Hodgson likes his workrate and defensive abilities over a guy like Theo.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: Yann M'Vila was tied for 7th in completed passes among all players in EURO 2012 Qualifying.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    Does Milner really belong out wide on the right? I am biased but would think Walcott would be better suited out there.

  •  

    James Tyler: Dear Whoever Is Pretending To Be Mexes in the Comments: please stop.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Most players on both teams go straight to the touchline for some water during the break in play for Welbeck's injury. He's ok and back in.

  •  

    James Tyler: No, Hans. M'Vila wasn't ready. Blanc favors Diarra in midfield usually. But Cabaye got it over M'Vila

  •  

    [Comment from Hans]
    why isn't m'vila starting? I know he picked up a knock in their last friendly, but i thought he was good to go

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    Do I sense confidence in your words Rog?

  •  

    [Comment from Pooler]
    Mexes - the poor man's Lucio

  •  

    James Tyler: Not sure what options Blanc has. Koscielny might be better on form.

  •  

    [Comment from EB]
    Mexes is getting torched - replaced at halftime?

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Mexes' positional sense is very poor. Being kind.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: England have to draw confidence from this last five minutes

  •  

    James Tyler: Milner tries to create space on the right flank but his cross is blocked.

  •  

    James Tyler: Rooney is suspended, to all asking.

  •  

    [Comment from Larry]
    "A rivalry that dates back to 1066" - how great is Ian Darke?

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: In EURO 2012 Qualifying, James Milner had just one shot inside the penalty area. He missed the target. It was against Switzerland, on June 4, 2011. The game finished 2-2.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm ok with it, Nick.

  •  

    [Comment from Nick Christie (GFOP)]
    Can we start calling Mexes Kate Winslet, yet? Always getting undressed.

  •  

    James Tyler: I lament that Rooney is not available to take advantage of Mexes. Alas.

  •  

    James Tyler: Again, Mexes undressed.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lovely move by Oxlade-Chamberlain to cut in from the left flank but Ashley Young's flagged offside (rightly so) from Ox's outlet pass.

  •  

    James Tyler: Bit of both, AC. Not everyone can watch the game.

  •  

    [Comment from AC]
    @James Tyler: I thought this was analysis, not play-by-play

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Looking back, it was a great ball from Parker so begin that move at goal.

  •  

    James Tyler: Alarm bells for the French defense. Moments later Yohan Cabaye forces a robust dive and parry from Hart. Decent shot, that.

  •  

    [Comment from Luke P]
    I've just decided I'll be making fun of James Milner this tournament...

  •  

    [Comment from HK]
    English Football!

  •  

    James Tyler: Dear oh dear. That was our chance! Surprisingly slick -- and direct -- move by England there.

  •  

    James Tyler: The French defense undressed like the Maginot Line. Parker plays to Young who sets Milner free behind a half-asleep Mexes... Milner rounds Lloris but can't get his foot enough around the ball and thus misses the empty netter.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Oh, boy. There was a time when you would have banked on Milner to score.

  •  

    James Tyler: ENGLAND SHOULD HAVE SCORED!

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm thinking the crowd at Donbass Arena is underwhelming because the beer is cheaper outside.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Ribery made Parker look silly.

  •  

    James Tyler: France is properly Arsenal'ing the ball around the English box as Cabaye, Nasri and Ribery all smoothly play passes but no shot comes from it all.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Major disappointment so far. not enough cutaways to Roy Hodgson. eye scratching. headbanging. cleaning his glasses with his tie etc

  •  

    James Tyler: Thanks, Statsie! If England is to have any chance, we can't have Joe Hart pulling a Robert Green 2010 Special.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: 51 teams participated in EURO 2012 Qualifying. England were one of 8 teams whose goalkeepers had 2 or more misplayed crosses.

  •  

    James Tyler: Thanks, Matt.

  •  

    [Comment from Matt]
    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?s=euro1 a link to listen on espn radio

  •  

    James Tyler: Rog, Hart looks very tan. Another holiday with the Rooneys, perhaps?

  •  

    James Tyler: CHANCE! Samir Nasri uncorks one from the left side of the box but it's wide of Hart's near post.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Nine men behind the ball for England.

  •  

    James Tyler: Unfair, A. Oxlade-Chamberlain is too young to have mightily offended yet.

  •  

    [Comment from A]
    Scotty Parker is literally the only likeable player on England.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: JOE HART! we need you to be supreme today. poor bloke looks like a Little Tree Air Freshener

  •  

    James Tyler: Curled in by Nasri, Hart comes out but fumbles it! Mercifully, Ashley Cole is on hand to punt it down to Hugo Lloris.

  •  

    James Tyler: More sloppy passing from the English and Les Bleus have a break as Ribery nips behind Glen Johnson. Smart angled pass to spring him loose. The Three Lions recover and block his cross out for a corner.

  •  

    [Comment from CB]
    This match needs some Joey Barton.

  •  

    James Tyler: Samir Nasri's finding plenty of room in the middle of the pitch thus far.

  •  

    James Tyler: If he could grow them, EB, I'd be ok with them.

  •  

    [Comment from EB]
    What are your feelings on Wayne Rooney with Mexes' cornrows??

  •  

    James Tyler: Now, England's turn to tippy-tappy in the attacking third. Nothing comes of it and the French break up the left flank. Takes a hefty slide to stop Ribery getting free.

  •  

    James Tyler: Awful.

  •  

    [Comment from John Rooney]
    What are the feelings on Mexes' cornrows?

  •  

    James Tyler: Malouda floats the corner in but it doesn't trouble the defense. Joe Hart pounces on Benzema's follow-up cross.

  •  

    James Tyler: Foul in the right corner as Ashley Cole greets Nasri with a nice shove/foot-stomp.

  •  

    James Tyler: More center back to full back shuffling from Les Bleus. Debuchy then gets up the right flank where Ashley Cole curtails his progress.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: I get the feeling Sir Ian Darke and Roy Hodgson would be mates in real life

  •  

    [Comment from Shakhtar transfer target]
    Stadium question? Is the Donbass as nice inside as it looks from outside? Looks like a hell of a venue.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'd rather have a Thor like Brede Hangeland, Sputnik.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    What would you rather have - an Ox or a Hulk?

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    Rog, how much does it hurt to root for a team with John Terry on it?

  •  

    James Tyler: Try ESPNRadio.com and search from there. Internet radio only, I believe.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    what station can you listen to the game live on espnradio on?

  •  

    James Tyler: First real French break down the left and Benzema nearly steals in behind John Terry, but England bungle it out for a corner. Nice 1-2 by Nasri and Benzema there. First corner. Nasri booms it near-post but it's forcefully headed clear.

  •  

    James Tyler: Luke P, the English press has been a whirlwind of hope camouflaged by sarcasm and pre-emptive despair.

  •  

    [Comment from Luke P]
    England should be buoyed by the fact that they are already doing better than they did in the last Euro merely by being here. I'm sure the English press has been very hopeful and supportive due to this fact...

  •  

    [Comment from dean]
    chats statsie better than tv statsie, hands down

  •  

    James Tyler: Les Bleus content to tap it sideways between the center backs. 86 more minutes of this...

  •  

    James Tyler: Backpasses and casual jogging galore early on. But hang about! Oxlade-Chamberlain dispossesses a lollygagging Mathieu Debuchy and hares down on goal, but his centering pass to Welbeck is shuffled clear. OX OX OX

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Watered the pitch about 15 mins before start. Already two players slipping.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France has won three straight against England, and are unbeaten against the Three Lions in five straight games. That includes Zinedine Zidane's two stoppage-time goals in France's 2-1 win in their EURO 2004 opener.

  •  

    James Tyler: No, Mike. It's because we're English.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: empty seats everywhere. everyone wants to listen to sir ian darke

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    That's because you have John Terry.

  •  

    James Tyler: Except we never win on penalties, Ben Lee. EVER.

  •  

    [Comment from Ben Lee]
    England might be this Tournament's Paraguay. Drawing all their match, winning on Penalties in the knockout stages and then getting crushed by Spain in the Final.

  •  

    James Tyler: We're off! England begin and it's already back at Joe Hart's feet. Majestic.

  •  

    James Tyler: Game's available on ESPN, ESPN3.com/WatchESPN.com, and on radio at ESPNRadio.com

  •  

    [Comment from Matt]
    Italian officials. GAME IS RIGGED.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Ox. A great game today would be a fairytale story. bloke watched the england germany game at the last world cup in a pub. now he starts

  •  

    [Comment from PlayaHata]
    Easier to despise - Mexes or Terry?

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Gary Neville is a believer in fate, judging by his commentary during the Champions League. Is Ray Clemence's injury in the warm-up a bad sign?

  •  

    James Tyler: Here it is: Alan Parsons Project and "Sirius." A truly pulse-quickening alt-Jock Jam.

  •  

    James Tyler: Gudg: short tournaments are all about momentum. A good performance -- and points -- galvanizes a bedraggled squad.

  •  

    [Comment from Gudg]
    Is a point critical for morale reasons only? I can't help but feel England can win points off both Sweden and Ukraine later to move on.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    Prediction on first yellow? I'll go with Terry

  •  

    [Comment from Dan]
    My Day off, Storms outside so no yard work, and France England on ESPN.

  •  

    James Tyler: 46 years of hurt. Has it really been that short a period of time?

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from Chase]
    ROONEY'S HAIR!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: We are legion, Stretch.

  •  

    [Comment from stretch]
    Scousers everywhere. Rog, James and Macca.

  •  

    James Tyler: Very. Must get at least a point.

  •  

    [Comment from Daoster]
    How important is a result in this game for England?

  •  

    James Tyler: French anthem far more jaunty, but no less menacing.

  •  

    James Tyler: Best anthem around, surely. The very definition of anthemic. And monarchy references galore.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Wayne Rooney now has a fringe. science is amazing

  •  

    James Tyler: I AM UP!

  •  

    James Tyler: Key will be the movement of England's wide players and how Rami-Mexes handle the pressure. For France, just get the ball to the front three.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: STAND UP JAMES TYLER

  •  

    James Tyler: Lineups again:
    FRANCE
    1-Lloris - 2-Debuchy, 4-Rami, 5-Mexes, 3-Evra
    6-Cabaye, 18-A.Diarra, 15-Malouda
    11-Nasri, 10-Benzema, 7-Ribery

    England XI:
    1-Hart
    2-Johnson, 6-Terry, 15-Lescott, 3-Cole
    16-Milner, 4-Gerrard, 17-Parker, 20-Oxlade-Chamberlain, 11-Young
    22-Welbeck

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Fun Bobby. a draw would make me believe in god. would LOVE a draw

  •  

    James Tyler: I will take any point I can get.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: tickets being scalped for thirty five pounds outside the game. one of the stories of the tournament...

  •  

    [Comment from Fun Bobby]
    James and Rog, how would you two feel about a draw today?

  •  

    James Tyler: And of course, for France: some classic smoldering pop from Serge Gainsbourg and sexpot Brigitte Bardot:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY9PY4r83p8

  •  

    Roger Bennett: 88 degrees there today. England's shirt has been deemed to be the worst performance fabric in the tournament. how many of those poor fans will be burned to a crisp today Ravi?

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Yesterday before the press conferences, it was announced that 724 tickets remained. With seven minutes to go until kickoff, more empty seats than that.

  •  

    James Tyler: Alright, England fans, let's get warmed up with Skinner, Baddiel and the Lightning Seeds:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh9AgkAZU0g

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: James, there's another link between the two...one of England's 4 losses in EURO openers was famously to Ireland in 1988.

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Roberto Martinez: Class Act. I'm really glad to see him included in ESPN's coverage again. He'll be at a major club soon.

  •  

    James Tyler: You're not alone there, Sputnik. Blanc will likely use him as a second-half adrenaline jolt as needed.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    I would have liked to see Ben Arfa start - he has really impressed this year.

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    Statsie is piling on against England.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian (DC)]
    What's the weather like there today? I've heard it is quite warm.

  •  

    James Tyler: Good shout, Statsie. Until yesterday, Ireland was unbeaten in tournament openers, I believe.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Am not sure what House England are... we will see. Though I can hear The Rains of Castamere playing which is never a good sign

  •  

    James Tyler: Today, the vastly unheralded English will score first. But they will concede twice as well. 2-1 Final to Blanc and Les Bleus. One I desperately hope I'm wrong on.

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France has never lost it's opening match at a European Championship (4 wins and 2 draws). England has never won it's opening match at a European Championship (4 losses and 3 draws).

  •  

    James Tyler: I do, Gudg. And I apologize. Can't get them all right. Did call a 1-1 yesterday between Spain and Italy, mind you.

  •  

    [Comment from Gudg]
    Hey James, remember when you said no chance Denmark would make it out of their group? Care to change your prediction?

  •  

    [Comment from Lpool NYC]
    Rog - Can we just call England House Stark and be done with it?

  •  

    [Comment from Roshan]
    Will miss Thierry Henry today for sure..

  •  

    James Tyler: For those wondering about Rooney's absence, he's suspended for the first two games of Group D.

  •  

    James Tyler: We have our statsie!

  •  

    ESPN Stats and Info: France enters EURO 2012 with the longest unbeaten steak in international soccer- 21 games.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Pity the fans who are in the top tier across from me. They're the ones in the sun. Most of the stadium in the shade.

  •  

    [Comment from Eric]
    EURO 2012 Theme song is atrocious. Just saying.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: On Baines. I hope he does not play. Euros too big a shop window for that little man to strut his stuff. Critical for Everton to keep hold of him and Fellaini

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Ben Lee. Ahhhh the plight of the American soccer fan

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Baines instead of who? Ashley Cole...uh, no. Baines is lucky he's in the squad. Didn't have a great season.

  •  

    James Tyler: I bet Rog is devastated. Though even I, a Liverpool fan, can accept Baines' quiet brilliance.

  •  

    [Comment from Ben Lee]
    Watching on my workstation, sadly food is not allowed in the work area.

  •  

    [Comment from Sputnik]
    Are you surprised Baines is not starting given how good he is on set pieces?

  •  

    James Tyler: Well, the Young/Welbeck connection at Man United is obvious. Hodgson will beg and plead the pair to connect.

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: This stadium announcer is a little annoying. It's like we're at a busy club on a Friday night. Zip it already.

  •  

    [Comment from Chris]
    James: Watching the game vs. Belgium he seemed like he might be the most creative one out there. Think he'll be the one putting Welbeck through on goal?

  •  

    James Tyler: Bit of poor taste there considering Defoe's father passing, JD, but I think we'll certainly see Defoe late on if England need a fillip up front.

  •  

    [Comment from Jermaine Defoe]
    Do you think Woy will trot out my corpse as a super sub if England need a late equalizer?

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Walcott must be a little annoyed that Ox got the nod ahead of him. But most England fans, I'm guessing, would take that trade off.

  •  

    [Comment from bambam]
    Roger - checking in from Chicago with a Newcastle in hand. Go Three Lions!

  •  

    [Comment from JJ]
    Ravi! Your blog posts on the Euro blog have been my favorite!

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Hello there Ravi. What's your prediction today?

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Huge weight on Ash Young. England's pace in transition will be key today. That spells Young and Ox.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not that England is good from the spot, but that's neither here nor there.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chris: Ashley's ability to win soft free kicks and penalties will be essential.

  •  

    [Comment from Chris]
    How critical do you think Ashley Young will be for the English offensively?

  •  

    [Comment from Steve]
    France will win 3-1. Benzema with a brance and Valbuena off the bench to kill off the match.

  •  

    [Comment from John Terry]
    On Paper, it looks like France should win 3-1

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    Go England!!!!!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Think Ox is a case of surprising Blanc with some pace. Ox still has self-confidence where Walcott clearly is lacking. The young tyro will run at the full-backs without restraint. I like it.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: My heart is beating even faster than Michael Ballack's right now

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Hey, Rog. Yes!

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Hey Rav... how hot is it? hot enough for us to have our built in excuse?

  •  

    [Comment from kyle]
    the ox getting the start? over walcott? looks like a counter attacking lineup with him, young and welbeck... not sure what milner brings to the table though

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Morning, Ravi!

  •  

    Ravi Ubha: Hi, James and Roger, and hi, everyone. Greetings from a hot Donetsk. On the walk over I thought I was in Thailand.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Steve. Tweed. Goes without saying. I am wearing the one i normally only wear on Churchill Day. Big question is... where are people watching and what are they drinking, eating etc?

  •  

    James Tyler: Because, Austin, he has as much faith in Koscielny as Arsenal fans do. Was arguably the Gunners' best defender this season, but I think he likes the pairing of two brutes in Mexes and Rami.

  •  

    [Comment from Austin]
    Why has Blanc not considered Koscielny for CB over Mexes or Rami?

  •  

    [Comment from Steven in North Carolina]
    I'm wearing my tweed blazer today. I hope that was the right selection for an England match. I hope you will be drinking Boddington's in celebration rather than drowning your sorrows in it after the match Rog and James.

  •  

    [Comment from Matthew P]
    England will beat France if they show heart on the pitch.

  •  

    James Tyler: The statsie signal has been thrown into the CT sky. Still waiting, there.

  •  

    [Comment from dean]
    where is statsie?

  •  

    James Tyler: I think Laurent Blanc would love someone other than Phillippe Mexes, Rog. Liability. Has a temper on him, too. Adil Rami is underseasoned at int'l level but had a great year in La Liga.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: How many of our Englishmen would get into that French side? Hart (maybe???) Terry. Lescott? Ashley Cole and?

  •  

    James Tyler: Roger, probably Italia 90. They came so close. Gazza! Platt! Terry Butcher and Mr. Robson! All downhill since.

  •  

    James Tyler: Glad you asked, TottBot:
    FRANCE
    1-Lloris - 2-Debuchy, 4-Rami, 5-Mexes, 3-Evra
    6-Cabaye, 18-A.Diarra, 15-Malouda
    11-Nasri, 10-Benzema, 7-Ribery

    England XI:
    1-Hart
    2-Johnson, 6-Terry, 15-Lescott, 3-Cole
    16-Milner, 4-Gerrard, 17-Parker, 20-Oxlade-Chamberlain, 11-Young
    22-Welbeck

  •  

    Roger Bennett: When did you last feel confident about england James Tyler?

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Are the lineups available?

  •  

    James Tyler: Morning, Rog. The butterflies are churning in my stomach too.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: JJ: the game will kick off when SportsCenter decides it is done. Not before.

  •  

    [Comment from Ben Lee]
    I'm actually at Work, paid to watch football here in Southeast Asia

  •  

    [Comment from Peter Die Mannshaft]
    England with a workman like effort 1-0.

  •  

    James Tyler: SportsCenter should be wrapping up at 11.45 ET to segue into the game.

  •  

    [Comment from JJ]
    Is this on after Sportscenter? Or am I on the wrong channel?

  •  

    James Tyler: Indeed we can, LE. I'm clapping furiously over here at the idea.

  •  

    Roger Bennett: Nervous to the pit of my stomach. Trying to calm my nerves with this classic pre-game confidence builder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPQE3GfkrOo

  •  

    [Comment from Lennons Eyebrow]
    Can we take a moment to applaud Hodgson's restraint in only selecting two Liverpool players to start?

  •  

    [Comment from Eric]
    1-1

  •  

    [Comment from Dave]
    France 3-1. I think England has a broken team!

  •  

    [Comment from Jason]
    2-1 France

  •  

    James Tyler: Smart thinking, Tyler.

  •  

    [Comment from Tyler]
    9 to 5 job = 45 minute first half lunch for those on the East Coast!

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeffrey Carlisle and Roger Bennett will be joining in due course.

  •  

    James Tyler: Well done, TottBot!

  •  

    [Comment from TottBot]
    Took the day off work.... getting paid to do this.

  •  

    James Tyler: For anyone needing info on streams, ESPN3 is always reliable. And radio on ESPNRadio.com if you can't do the telly or laptop.

  •  

    [Comment from Roshan]
    France 3-0 England

  •  

    [Comment from Mike]
    Either 1-0 France or 0-0

  •  

    James Tyler: As a self-loathing Englishman, I'll say 2-1 France. A late goal to shatter our hearts.

  •  

    [Comment from Alex]
    Let's get right to it. Prediction for the match?

  •  

    [Comment from Dave]
    Morning from a college campus

  •  

    [Comment from Karthik]
    good morning all!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Where's everyone watching this morning? If you're a 9-to-5er, a sneaky long pub lunch might prove tricky. But I've no doubt you lot can manage it.

  •  

    [Comment from Ben Lee]
    Morning James.

  •  

    James Tyler: England. France. Scenes.

  •  

    James Tyler: The Donbass Arena won't know what hit it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Morning, all!

 
COMPLETE TEAM CLOSE X
Goal Shot Video
  •  
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • France

  • 19(15)

  • 17

  • 9

  • 60%

    40%

  • England

  • 3(1)

  • 28

  • 7

Match Stats

  • France
  • England
19(15) Shots (on goal) 3(1)
9 Fouls 7
11 Corner kicks 4
0 Offsides 5
60% Time of Possession 40%
0 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
0 Saves 6