Euro 2016: England held by Russia

By Niall Clarke

  • England 1-1 Russia
  • Eric Dier opened the scoring, Vasili Berezutski headed home a 92nd minute equaliser.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE- England conceded a 92nd minute equaliser as Russia fought back to claim a draw in their Euro 2016 opener.

The performance perhaps deserved a win, and after Eric Dier’s stunning free kick gave the Three Lions the lead, it looked like we were heading for an opening match victory. However, as so often is the case in football, the game is never over until the final whistle.

In stoppage time, Vasili Berezutski connected with a header that looped into the far corner beyond the reach of Joe Hart. Russia celebrated as England were left to rue missed opportunities.

The Three Lions had the majority of the chances and possession, but failed to convert against a stubborn Russian side.

England’s duck in European Championship openers continues, they have never won their opening game in this competition. It is also a poor way to end a week that was marred by off-field issues involving England supporters.

The opening 45 minutes were largely dominated by England but they failed to find a breakthrough.  Adam Lallana in particular looked like a bright spark, but the forwards were not clinical enough to break the deadlock.

The Russians started well early in the second half and looked threatening as England struggled to find their first half rhythm. However, the Russian ascendency was soon halted. Wayne Rooney had a great chance to open the scoring but his shot as saved onto the post by the strong hand of Igor Akinfeev.

Dele Alli earned a free kick just moments later, and of all people Dier stepped up to fire the ball home. The Spurs man had broke the deadlock after over 70 minutes of knocking on the Russian door.

It looked like the game was sealed, but Russian Captain, Berezutski, stepped up to head home the equaliser as England failed to do what Wales did earlier in the day- see out the victory.

The loss leaves Roy Hodgson’s side two points behind the Welsh, and they will meet on Thursday in Lens. An English loss will leave them in danger of a first round exit from Euro 2016.

Unfortunately there were further problems after the match as Russian fans appeared to attack English fans after the final whistle. The Britwatch team hopes nobody was hurt and that this behaviour will stop.

The performance was encouraging from an England point of view, but the result is really a poor one against a Russian side that has struggled in recent years.

England may look to Jamie Vardy and Jack Wilshere to add a little extra bite in the attacking areas. Harry Kane was off his game and Raheem Sterling failed to make an impact. It was surprising that Vardy did not feature to give England a different edge.

Euro 2016 continues tomorrow with Northern Ireland taking on Poland