Wayne Rooney returned from a two-match suspension to head in the lone goal and gave his team a 1-0 win over Ukraine on Tuesday and sailed through the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.
A 48th-minute header from Wayne Rooney was enough to see England finish at the top of Group D table and they will take on Italy on Sunday for a place in the semis.
Ukraine, who needed a win to advance, almost equalised in the 62nd minute when Marko Devic’s looping shot appeared to cross the line before it was hooked clear by England defender John Terry. Despite furious Ukrainian appeals, the goal was not awarded by the referee or his extra assistant, who was only a few metres from the post.
Rooney who missed the first two Euro 2012 matches through suspension, managed to put his team on the scoreboard.
After Ukraine’s elimination, captain Shevchenko announced he was retiring from international football. Shevchenko, who was suffering from a knee injury, started on the bench and came on in the 70th minute, but he could not find a goal that would have brought his side back into the match. Shevchenko, who was crowned World Footballer of the Year in 2004, played 111 times for Ukraine.
In another Group D match, France advanced to the quarter-finals despite losing their final Group D match 2-0 to already eliminated Sweden.
It was Sweden’s first victory over the French since 1969 and France’s first defeat in 24 games.
A brilliant bicycle kick by Sweden’s captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave them the lead in the 54th minute, in what will be a strong contender for goal of the tournament and Sebastian Larsson added the second in the final minute of normal time.
France had their 23-match unbeaten run ended and finished in second place in the group after England finished first after beating Ukraine 1-0.
France, who reached the knockout stages of a major final in the 2006 World Cup, will play champions Spain in the last eight.