Ghost goal fury of Blokhin while Hodgson's happy to get rub of the green
By Matt Barlow
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 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
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 thanks to the striker's goal (below)
‘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
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
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
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
‘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
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
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.’
The comments below have been moderated in advance.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
We are no longer accepting comments on this article.