Wayne Rooney's goal seals England a 1-0 win over Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine
Already-eliminated Sweden beat France 2-0 in Kiev
Second-half goals from Ibrahimovic and Larsson seal Sweden's win
France through as Group D runners-up, despite defeat
Wayne Rooney returned with a goal to send England through to the quarter finals of Euro 2012 as Group D winners.
Rooney’s second-half header saw Roy Hodgson’s England leapfrog France, who crashed to a 2-0 defeat against Sweden but still limped through to the last eight.
Rooney, who had missed a glorious first-half chance to break the deadlock, headed in from close range after goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov had spilled Steven Gerrard’s cross.
Yet the real post-match talking point centred on a call for goalline technology as co-hosts Ukraine saw a Marko Devic shot apparently cross the line before being scrambled away by John Terry.
It was a cruel end to Ukraine’s tournament and a lucky break for England, who held on to secure a quarter-final clash with Italy while France face Spain.
England 1-0 Ukraine
The co-hosts needed a win to progress and made a positive start. But while Ukraine undoubtedly dominated the first half, it was England who had the best chance of the opening 45 minutes.
John Terry picked out Ashley Young with a fantastic cross-field pass and Young’s centre expertly picked out the run of his Manchester United team-mate Rooney, only for the striker to plant his header harmlessly wide.
To say Rooney looked rusty on his return would be a huge understatement. His touch was poor and so was his hold-up play, betraying his absence from the tournament so far, but his movement off the ball remained encouraging for Hodgson’s side.
But it was not just their returning striker who struggled for England; their general play was sloppy and Ukraine’s greater urgency and desire meant they bossed the game.
Right-back Oleg Husyev displayed plenty of the attacking instinct that he shows on the right wing for Dynamo Kiev and caused Ashley Cole and England all sorts of anxieties.
But, for all their intent, Ukraine failed to create any real threat to Joe Hart’s goal. Instead, it was England who took control of the game three minutes into the second half – and this time Rooney’s movement paid handsome dividends.
Captain Gerrard created the opening, cutting inside and hitting a firm cross that clipped off Selin and Khacheridi to send the ball squirming out of goalkeeper Pyatov’s grasp and allow Rooney to run free and head home from close range.
On the hour, Ukraine wasted a glorious chance to level when Andriy Yarolenko’s searching cross found Milevskiy, who appeared offside but managed to plant his header over the bar from close range.
Two minutes later, the co-hosts were controversially denied an equaliser when Milevsky set up Devic, whose shot was parried well by Hart but looped up and goalwards. John Terry raced back and acrobatically hooked away, though the effort looked to have clearly crossed the line.
There was still time for Hart to spectacularly palm away Konoplyanka’s shot, the impressive Joleon Lescott scrambling the loose ball clear, as England weathered the co-hosts’ storm to climb to the top of Group D. Upwards and onwards.
France 0-2 Sweden
Second-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sebastian Larsson saw Sweden end their Euro 2012 campaign with victory, but Erik Hamren’s side still finished rock-bottom of the group as France limped through as group runners-up.
The Swedes, beaten by Ukraine and England in their opening two games, dominated the first half and were unlucky not to take the lead when Philippe Mexes’ slip let in Ola Toivonen who rounded keeper Hugo Lloris but shot against the outside of the post from a tight angle.
Larsson shot over the crossbar as Sweden threatened again but they finally took a deserved lead on 54 minutes when Ibrahimovic spectacularly volleyed home following another spell of pressure.
Captain Lloris kept France in contention when he beat away a Wilhelmsson cross and, from the resulting corner, twisted spectacularly to tip over Olof Mellberg’s close range flick.
That finally prompted a spell of French pressure, but the closest they came was a Karim Benzema shot that dragged across the face of goal as Sweden comfortably held on.
In fact, the Swedes doubled their money in the closing minutes to complete a deserved win. Samuel Holmen scuffed his shot, but the effort bounced back off the crossbar and fell invitingly for Larsson to smash home with another spectacular Swedish finish.
Ukraine’s defeat meant that France still reached the last eight, where they will now face European champions Spain.