Group Stage play finally comes to an end tonight as England take on co-host Ukraine and France play against Sweden, in hope for a quarter final spot at Euro 2012.
England and France both just need a point to advance while co-host Ukraine can still win the group with a victory and either a tie or loss by Les Bleus. Sweden, having lost to England and Ukraine, has already been eliminated from Euro 2012.
France is sitting pretty on the top with four points and is ahead of England due to goal difference.
In the first match, France drew with England, 1-1 and won 2-0 against Ukraine in their second group match. Sweden lost 2-1 to co-host Ukraine and were beaten 3-2 by England.
France needs either a win or a draw to advance to the next round.
But if they lose and England also loses against Ukraine, then it will be Ukraine who will be at the top of the group table with six points while England and France would have four each. Since England and France drew 1-1 in their head to head match, it would come down to goal difference and right now France is ahead by one. Every goal in this game is very important and crucial. If France loses and Ukraine draws, they’ll each have four points, but France will advance due to the head to head win over Ukraine.
Karim Benzema was the hero in the match against Ukraine. Despite not being able to score, he was the best player on the pitch by setting up both the goals and France won 2-0 over Ukraine. France who dominated the game could have scored more but Ukrainian keeper Andriy Pyatov was the hero for his side.
On the other hand, England won 3-2 over Sweden on Friday, and is at the second position with four points. The goals which were scored by Andy Carroll, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, has given Hodgson several options in attack.
England will be much confident with the inclusion of Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up. The return of Rooney from suspension will definitely give England an extra jolt of optimism as they search the much needed point to clinch a place in the last eight at Donetsk’s Donbass Arena.
Hodgson is yet to confirm which player Rooney will replace in the starting line-up, but his other major selection dilemma concerns Walcott, the decisive influence in Kiev after transforming a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory over Sweden last Friday.