A youthful England side produced an energetic and impressive display in Saturday night’s opener with Russia in Marseille. However, a late goal from Vasili Berezutski robbed the Three Lions of a deserved win. Indeed, with five Tottenham players in the starting line-up, you could say that the English ultimately did ‘a Spurs’.
England were the better side throughout, albeit against a poor Russian outfit. Wayne Rooney, playing in a deeper midfield role, impressed with his passing.
However, despite their dominance, England struggled to find a cutting edge against the Russians, whose experienced backline stood firm.
It took until the 73rd minute for the breakthrough to finally occur, with Eric Dier, a player not renowned for his free-kicks, blasting one past Igor Akinfeev in the Russian goal. Dier’s team-mate Dele Alli had won the questionable free-kick for the English, after running straight into his opponent.
— TAB (@tabcomau) June 12, 2016
Roy Hodgson replaced Rooney with Jack Wilshere in an attempt to hold on to the victory. However, at the death, Berezutski outjumped Danny Rose to head home a dramatic equaliser.
Despite the result, Hodgson will be pleased by the performance of his charges, even if it did come against a weak Russian side. But if the Three Lions are to succeed in France, they’ll need to start making the most of their good build-up play and start putting away their chances.