Rooney the hero for England, France through to quarter-finals
England defeat Ukraine 1-0 as Sweden defeat France 2-0
19 June 2012, 12:00am
Wayne Rooney headed England to a 1-0 victory over Ukraine and through to a Euro 2012 quarter-final meeting with Italy on Sunday.
Back in the side after serving his two-game suspension, the Manchester United striker looked rusty at times but netted the winner, with England topping Group D after France suffered a shock 2-0 defeat against eliminated Sweden.
Steven Gerrard whipped over a teasing cross from the right and Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov made a complete meal of it to allow Rooney to nod home from practically on the line at the far post.
Having missed a glorious opportunity from six yards out in the first half, Rooney simply could not miss in the 48th minute as he bagged his first goal at a major international tournament since June 21, 2004.
Roy Hodgson's side rode their luck to a huge extent just after the hour when John Terry cleared from under his own bar after Joe Hart could only partially block Marko Devic's shot, with replays showing the ball had crossed the line.
The co-hosts follow Poland in exiting the tournament before the last eight, while France now have a quarter-final clash with Spain to prepare for after losing their grip on the top of the standings.
Hodgson, who had just two matches in charge before the start of the tournament, stressed his team were a work in progress.
He was, though, pleased that Rooney made a goalscoring return from a two-match suspension.
In the other match, France suffered their first defeat in 24 games as goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sebastian Larsson sealed a famous 2-0 win for Sweden in Euro 2012 Group D at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
Ibrahimovic produced a special strike to open the scoring early in the second half and Sunderland star Larsson added a second in stoppage time.
It meant Laurent Blanc's side ended Group D as runners-up and will meet world and European champions Spain at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Saturday evening.
England took over at the top of the standings with a 1-0 victory over Ukraine.
In a frantic opening, France were given an early scare as Ola Toivonen headed wide before skipper Hugo Lloris was called into action to stop Larsson's effort.
But Les Bleus hit back immediately at the other end as Franck Ribery's left-foot shot was parried at the near post by Andreas Isaksson.
Philippe Mexes then allowed Toivonen to break clean through, but the PSV Eindhoven striker went too wide of Lloris and could only hit the outside of the post.
Nine minutes into the second half Sweden opened the scoring thanks to a blockbuster of a strike from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Christian Wilhelmsson found Larsson in space down the right and his cross was met by the AC Milan striker just inside the area with an acrobatic right-foot volley, which flew into the bottom corner.
Yann Mvila tested Isaksson with a fizzing 30-yard effort as Laurent Blanc's side became increasingly frustrated.
Substitute Jeremy Menez then forced Isaksson into a good save and seconds later Olivier Giroud headed just wide from the resulting corner.
But the Swedes made the game safe when they broke forward in stoppage time and although Samuel Holmen's shot was tipped onto the bar, Larsson was on hand to slam the loose ball home and secure a well-deserved victory.
Court & Police
Eight arrests over €160,000 Bitcoin fraud to spe...
Planning Authority tears down Wardija home
Living the good life…with other people’s money
Moscovici: Not Commission’s remit to reproach Mizzi over Panama Papers
Sliema palazzo on sale for €3.7 million, but claims of hotel permits fall short of reality
Court & Police
Eight arrests over €160,000 Bitcoin fraud to specialised Malta exchanger