Ukraine 0 England 0
England took a small step towards World Cup qualification after they scraped a draw in Kiev thanks to Ukraine’s profligacy.
Ukraine made the most of a booming atmosphere inside the Olympic Stadium, applying pressure to Roy Hodgson’s shell-shocked team, but they could not get the killer goal that would have put them top of Group H with two games left.
Hodgson had compared England’s mission in the former Soviet Republic to the one that Glenn Hoddle undertook in Rome 17 years ago when the Three Lions drew 0-0 to make it to France ’98.
And it was certainly a case of backs to the wall again tonight as the home side launched a barrage on the England box from the start.
Joe Hart almost gifted the hosts a first-minute lead when he brought down Roman Zozulya, but luckily for England and their out-of-form number one, the penalty was not given.
It was pretty much all Ukraine from then on. Buoyed by a sizzling atmosphere inside the sold out 70,000-seat arena, the Ukrainians created chance after chance, but they did not take any of them.
The impressive Yevgen Konoplianka set up a number of chances and Artem Fedetskiy wasted two fantastic opportunities with his head.
Although the draw moves England one point clear at the top of Group H with two matches left, this performance will have done little to satisfy those who agree with Greg Dyke’s claim that the Three Lions have little chance of lifting the World Cup in Rio next year if they get there.
The defence performed strongly, but there was a distinct lack of creativity in midfield and England sorely missed the drive of Wayne Rooney, who would have proved a perfect foil for the isolated Rickie Lambert.
England have tricky home fixtures against Montenegro and Poland to come and the fact remains that Hodgson’s only qualifying victories have come against world number 123 Moldova and Group H punchbags San Marino.