France 1 England 1: Roy Hodgson pleased with a point
Roy Hodgson was happy with a point after his England side were held to a draw by France in their Euro 2012 opener
Roy Hodgson insisted he was satisfied with a point after England were held to a draw by France in their Euro 2012 Group D opener.
Samir Nasri levelled for Laurent Blanc’s side five minutes before half-time after Joleon Lescott had headed England into the lead from Steven Gerrard’s free-kick.
Both teams began to lag in the closing stages in hot and humid conditions in Donetsk, and Hodgson admitted he was glad to get this game out of the way ahead of England’s remaining group clashes against Ukraine and Sweden.
“I’m obviously pleased, for the players most of all,” said the England boss. “The conditions were difficult for both teams and I thought both teams showed incredible spirit to keep going.
“I thought we started both halves well, but we suffered a period of pressure before the end of the half as France finished well and unfortunately we conceded. I’m glad to get this game out of the way and I’m now looking forward to the rest of this competition.
“The French, as we know and as most people who watch them know, flood the midfield. They try to drag your defenders out of position. It was very important that our midfielders stuck to their task. The two central ones did very well, and the wide ones deserve to be mentioned as well.”
Hodgson caused a stir by naming Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his starting line-up for Monday’s clash – and the England manager was left pleased by the 18-year-old’s promising display.
“I think [Oxlade-Chamberlain] deserved his place,” he continued. “He’s got that ability when he gets in those positions to turn people around. I thought he did quite well, I thought he was quite dangerous.
“I told him: ‘Don’t get hung up on this performance and remember there’ll be lots more games to come in an England shirt.’”
France manager Blanc conceded that a draw was probably the right result.
“Overall, I think the draw was fair for both teams,” he said. “The fact that it was hot on the pitch didn’t favour the side that attacked most, and France attacked most.
“We’re disappointed not to have won it but glad not to have lost. And we didn’t deserve to lose.”
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