France and England played out a 1-1 draw in their opening Euro 2012 group stage match in Donetsk.
Joleon Lescott headed England into the lead in the 30th minute, getting on the end of Steven Gerrard’s deep cross from the right and beating Alou Diarra in the air to nod the ball past Hugo Lloris.
Samir Nasri then responded nine minutes later, beating his club team-mate Joe Hart at his near post with a low drive.
In humid conditions the match started off at a relatively sedate pace, with both teams sizing-up their opponents rather than really going for the throat.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a surprise inclusion in the starting eleven, gave England some threat on the wings, while Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema probed a solid-looking English back-line.
James Milner wasted the best chance of the opening period, latching on to Ashley Young’s weighted through-ball, and rounding the goalkeeper, only to slice wide with the goal gaping.
France dominated possession, but were unable to create many obvious opportunities, stalking around the English penalty area, patiently.
The main French threat was coming from right-back, with Mathieu Debuchy getting forward from his own half to trouble the English defence.
Against the run of play England opened the scoring. Patrice Evra gave away a needless foul wide on England’s right, and Gerrard’s pinpoint free-kick was headed into the net by the onrushing Lescott.
The lead lasted just nine minutes, as Ribery fed Nasri on the edge of the box, and the Manchester City man forced a shot in at Hart’s near post.
The second half was even more defensive, with pace slowed down and England defending in numbers.
Karim Benzema came the closest to putting France ahead, chasing down a pass from Nasri.
There were few further opportunities as both teams settled for starting the campaign with a single point.
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