It had been a turbulent build-up to the European Championships for England. There was controversy with former England captain, John Terry, which lead to the resignation of Fabio Capello back in February. New manager, Roy Hodgson, was appointed May 1st, and in the run-up to England's first game of the tournament the Three Lions lost Ruddy, Barry, Cahill and Lampard to injury. Wayne Rooney was not available for this game due to suspension, and Martin Kelly was missing due to a virus. Not ideal preparations going into a major tournament. Once in the stadium there was another obstacle for the team to overcome...the heat. England played with a 4-4-1-1 formation.
At almost the half-hour mark, Debuchy took the ball to the byline, struck the ball which deflected off Cole, but Joe Hart was alert and was able to make a save at the near post as the ball bobbled. In the 30 minute Evra fouled Milner and the resulting freekick, taken by Gerrard, was met by a great header as Lescott broke free of his marker to score his first international goal.
A few minutes later Nasri took a freekick for France. Diarra rose to meet the freekick and headed the ball towards England's goal which forced Hart to make an excellent save. The ball went back into play where Ribery headed the ball back in front of goal, Diarra yet again headed the ball but it went just wide of the far post. However, it didn't take much longer for France to equalize. It came in the 39th minute. There was a nice build-up from France which ended when Ribery, on his 50th start for his country, played the ball back to Nasri who fired a 20-yard shot. Hart was beaten as the ball squeaked under the England goalkeeper at the near post.
Into the second half, and the 65th minute, Benzema unleashed a shot but Joe Hart was able to make the save to prevent England from going behind. Later, having foiled an attempt by France to break the deadlock, England went on the counter attack. Welbeck made some ground down the left, passing the ball back to Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Arsenal youngster lost the ball when he ran into several France players.
In the final few minutes of the game Milner played the ball into the 6-yard box, hoping to reachWelbeck, but the ball was put over the byline by Mexes for a corner. There were three minutes of injury time, and in the final seconds of the game, Benzema took a shot but thankfully Hart was inform and prevented England from conceeding a goal right at the end. England will be happy taking a point from this game, against a side which hasn't lost in 21 matches (make that 22 now!).
England's next game is on Friday against Sweden.
Lloris #1, Debuchy #2, Rami #4, Mexes #5, Evra #3, Nasri #11, Cabaye #6 (Ben Arfa 84 mins - #20), Diarra #18, Malouda #15 (Martin 85 mins - #19), Ribery #7, Benzema #10.
Subs Not Used: Mandanda #16, Giroud #9, Matuidi #12, Reveillere #13, Menez #14, M'Vila #17, Valbuena #8, Clichy #22, Koscielny #21, Carrasso #23.
Hart #1, Johnson #2, Terry #6, Lescott #15, A Cole #3, Milner #16, Gerrard #4 - Captain, Parker #17 (Henderson 78 mins - #8), Oxlade-Chamberlain #20 (Defoe 77 mins - #21), Young #11, Welbeck #22 (Walcott 90 mins - #7).
Subs Not Used: Green #13, Carroll #9, Baines #12, Jones #14, Jagielka #18, Downing #19, Butland #23. (Full Squad)
France Goal: Nasri (39 mins)
England Goal: Lescott (30 mins)
England Cautions: Oxlade-Chamberlain (34 mins), Young (71 mins)
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)