Ghost goal fury of Blokhin while Hodgson's happy to get rub of the green

By Matt Barlow

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Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard savoured England’s warm embrace with Lady Luck on a night of Ukrainian fury and Andy Carroll’s hairspray.

Both Hodgson and Gerrard were happy to admit they were fortunate to beat the co-hosts here and set up a quarter-final against Italy after Ukraine were denied a goal which crossed the line.

Wayne Rooney nodded England ahead, early in the second half, but John Terry’s intervention, when he hooked clear a shot from Marko Devic in the 62nd minute, was equally important.

Ghost goal: John Terry's defending was magnificent, but the ball crossed the line in Donetsk

Ghost goal: John Terry's defending was magnificent, but Marko Devic's shot crossed the line in Donetsk

Ghost goal: John Terry's defending was magnificent, but the ball crossed the line in Donetsk

Ghost goal: John Terry's defending was magnificent, but the ball crossed the line in Donetsk

Television replays showed the ball was in before Terry’s clearance and Oleg Blokhin was furious. The defeat also led Andriy Shevchenko to retire from international football.

Hodgson said: ‘This was an away game with a capital ‘A’. There were only 4,000 brave England fans. When we needed a bit of luck and, when the ball may have crossed the line, we got a bit of luck and went on to win the match.

Job done: Roy Hodgson congratulates Wayne Rooney as England top Group D

Job done: Roy Hodgson congratulates Wayne Rooney as England top Group D thanks to the striker's goal (below)

Goal: Rooney

‘The important thing was John Terry did so well to hook the ball off the line. People can’t be 100 per cent certain. We’ve  suffered bad luck in those areas before.’

Captain Gerrard added: ‘To be successful in these tournaments, with the quality of teams you have, you need a bit of luck along the way. Two years ago with Frank Lampard’s goal it didn’t go our way. If you keep fighting and stick at it you earn that bit of luck.’

Frustrated: Oleg Blokhin complains about the goal that never was

Frustrated: Oleg Blokhin complains about the goal that never was

Blokhin took his rage into the press conference where he offered a Ukrainian reporter to step outside for a ‘man conversation’.

‘The ball crossed the line by over a metre,’ said the Ukraine manager. ‘There are five refs on the pitch and the ball was over the line. Why do we need five refs then?’

Devic said: ‘If I’m honest, I didn’t see it at the time. But it was a big game, and it’s very sad. I think everyone in the stadium would like to have seen what would’ve happened if it had been 1-1 with not long to go.’

Pressure: England rode their luck at times but took all three points

Pressure: England rode their luck at times but took all three points

There was fortune too in England’s goal. Gerrard crossed low from the right and defender Yevhen Khacheridi, stretching to intercept, only succeeded in diverting it past his own goalkeeper to Rooney, who applied the finish from a yard.

It was his first goal in a major tournament for eight years and, after scoring, he celebrated by pretending to spray his hair, which is growing after a transplant.

‘I’d used Andy Carroll’s hair products and before the game he asked me to do it if I scored and so I did it,’ said Rooney. ‘Hopefully I’ll end up with hair like him.’

Comeback: Rooney made a welcome return to football following his ban

Comeback: Rooney made a welcome return to football following his ban

Celebration: Rooney pretends to spray his hair

Celebration: Rooney pretends to spray his hair


In the TV studio, Jamie Carragher said: ‘A boy from Croxteth should not use hair product!’

Italy await in Kiev on Sunday and Rooney believes the change of luck could help England beyond the quarter-finals for the first time since 1996. He said: ‘It’s a difficult game and will be quite evenly matched but we’re feeling confident. We’re difficult to beat and we’ve got players in the team who can score goals. It’s going to be a tight game but hopefully we can come out winners.

‘It’s always a great feeling to score. My overall game could’ve been a bit better but it was difficult because it was my first game for a while. Towards the end I felt a little bit tired. That’s natural and I’ll benefit from that time on the pitch.’

Gerrard was superb and Rooney added: ‘He’s a world-class player and I thought he was brilliant. He drove us on at times. His delivery has been exceptional. We’re lucky to have a player like that in the team.’

Passion: Steven Gerrard says his side are peaking at just the right time

Passion: Steven Gerrard says his side are peaking at just the right time

Heart on his sleeve: Gerrard

Heart on his sleeve: Gerrard

England have not beaten Italy since 1997 but Cesare Prandelli will be without key defender Giorgio Chiellini who has a thigh injury. Ashley Young will be a doubt too after limping out of the Donbass Arena last night with a sore ankle.

‘I haven’t given Italy much thought,’ said Hodgson. ‘Most people didn’t think we’d get out of the group. Luckily we’ve proved that wrong. I’m pleased about that.’

Smile: Hodgson

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

In the three group games, we had a total of 10 shots on target versus our opponents having 25 shots on target. 24 shots off target to 46. Yet we've still topped the group. Lucky perhaps, but some good teams have gone home, and the players seem united and proud to play for the country. There would be no shame in going out to Italy. Although I am not a fan of Roy's playing style, credit where it's due, he deserves his shot at the world cup. Well done especially to Hart and Gerrard, Terry for the clearance for the disallowed goal, and Ashley Young put in a few good balls and is hopefully on an upwards curve.

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We'd have still gone through even if the goal had stood which resulted in a draw. And besides, after Lampard's goal wasn't given in the World Cup (which wasn't offside in the build-up) we're due for a bit of positive karma.

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This proves that the 5th officials are useless. The only thing that they appear to do is to block the action from photographers, TV and fans behind them as they dodge up and down the goal line. The effect can be seen..crammed in photographers on the side opposite to these numpties. TV/ goal line cameras can't come too soon..!

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Am i only one to notice that Devic was offside when the ball was passed to him?

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In the build up the forward was offside, which was missed by the offiicials, so justice was done when the goal was not given. Either way we would of still won the group!!

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Mr Blokhin saw the ball cross the line but he forgot to mention that Devic was a yard offside when the ball was played through to him.

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It was offside anyway - so correct outcome

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Maybe it was justice that the ghost goal was not given, because, on German T.V. it showed that Devic was actually off-side before he began his run, which ended with Terry's interception on the line.

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How long have they had to get goal line technology in place? Platini's idea of a 5th official has been a blinding success. What a plum

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A metre over the line? Never, and it was 'scored' by a player in an offside position. So 2 wrongs make a right.

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