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Rooney heads England into quarter-finals

Last updated on: June 20, 2012 02:45 IST

Rooney heads England into quarter-finals

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Wayne Rooney made a decisive impact on his belated entry to Euro 2012 when his header gave England a 1-0 win over Ukraine on Tuesday that sent them into the quarter-finals as Group D winners and eliminated the co-hosts.

Ukraine, needing a win to go through, came desperately close to equalising after 62 minutes when Marco Devic's shot was half-saved by Joe Hart then hacked off the line by John Terry. 

Ukraine's players and most of the crowd screamed that the ball had crossed the line but the fifth official decided otherwise.




Image: England's Wayne Rooney (L) celebrates his goal against Ukraine with team mates Joleon Lescott and James Milner (R) during their Group D match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk
Photographs: REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Ibrahimovic's acrobatic volley put Sweden ahead

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Below-par France qualified for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals as Group D runners-up on Tuesday despite a superb Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike and a late Sebastian Larsson goal condemning them to a 2-0 defeat by Sweden.

The French will play holders Spain in the last eight in Donetsk on Saturday, with group winners England, who beat co-hosts Ukraine 1-0, facing Italy in Kiev on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic's acrobatic volley from just inside the area, the striker swivelling to meet Larsson's cross, put already-eliminated Sweden ahead on 54 minutes in what will be a strong contender for goal of the tournament.



Image: Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his goal during their Group D match against France at the Olympic stadium in Kiev
Photographs: REUTERS/Darren Staples

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Rooney's was an easy header

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Rooney, suspended for the first two matches, wasted a good chance in the first half but could not miss three minutes into the second after Steven Gerrard's deflected right-wing cross deceived goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov and left the striker an easy header.

France's defeat by Sweden means England top the group with seven points and will play Group C runners-up Italy in Kiev on Sunday. 

France finished second on four points and will face holders Spain.



Image: England's Wayne Rooney (L) goes for a header with Ukraine's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk during their Group D match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk
Photographs: REUTERS/Yves Herman

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It was Sweden's first win over the French since 1969

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Below-par France qualified for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals as Group D runners-up despite the loss to Sweden.

The French will play holders Spain in the last eight in Donetsk on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic's acrobatic volley from just inside the area, the striker swivelling to meet Larsson's cross, put already-eliminated Sweden ahead on 54 minutes in what will be a strong contender for goal of the tournament.

It was Sweden's first victory over the French since 1969 and France's first defeat in 24 games.

Already eliminated, the Swedes had clearly decided they were not going down without a fight and they flew into challenges from the first whistle.

With the French through as long as Ukraine did not win, there was always the chance of a dull game but both sides played with commitment, pace and skill.



Image: France's Franck Ribery (L) tackles Sweden's Olof Mellberg during their Group D match at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev
Photographs: REUTERS/Michael Dalder

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Ola Toivonen missed a great chance for Sweden

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Sweden forward Ola Toivonen had a great chance to open the scoring when Philippe Mexes botched a defensive header and let him run free in the French half.

Lloris came out quickly to force him wide and the Swedish striker's effort grazed the outside of the post with the goal at his mercy.

France looked slick in possession and alarm bells rang every time Franck Ribery ran at the Swedish defence. Several times he ghosted down the left wing to create openings that were wasted by his team mates.

Ribery, Hatem Ben Arfa, Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri all threatened with shots from distance but none troubled Andreas Isaksson unduly.

Ibrahimovic brought the crowd to their feet in the 54th minute, finishing Larsson's cross with a breathtaking scissor-kick.

Substitute Jeremy Menez could have equalised for France but his shot hit Isaksson's legs.

Sweden held on for victory but France will have a chance to regroup before facing the world champion Spaniards.


Image: France's goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (R) comforts Sweden's Ola Toivonen after he failed to score a goal during their Group D match at the Olympic stadium in Kiev
Photographs: REUTERS/Darren Staples

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