England faced Russia in a Group B clash at the Stade Vélodrome on Saturday, with The Three Lions blowing the lead to draw 1-1.
England, who have never won a European Championship, were gunning to get their challenge off on the right foot with an attacking young team.
Russia, for their part, were hit by injuries to key players Alan Dzagoev and Igor Denisov prior to the kick-off, meaning the side were looking short of top quality players to threaten with.
The first chance of the match fell to England’s Dele Alli from range, but the youngster hit his half volley wide with three minutes gone. The Three Lions had another chance four minutes later, as Adam Lallana’s effort was saved by Igor Akinfeev after great work from Kyle Walker.
Russia had their first chance with a header from Sergei Nikolayevich following a free kick with 16 minutes on the clock, but it was straight at Joe Hart. But it was England who produced the next big chance, as Lallana fired wide following great interplay with 21 minutes gone. Raheem Sterling was then denied minutes later by a brilliant challenge Igor Smolnikov.
A dangerous ball along the turf from Danny Rose proved the last meaningful play of the half, but it was parried clear of danger by Akinfeev before it could reach Sterling.
The first chance of the second period fell to Russia, but Gary Cahill did well to clear as the ball was bundled into the danger area. Sterling then had an effort saved by Akinfeev after 53 minutes, but he was offside in any case.
Fyodor Smolov then came close with a curling effort in the 63rd minute that flew just wide.
Rooney came close with an effort from the edge of the box with 70 minutes gone, but was brilliantly denied by Akinfeev. Lallana’s follow-up effort than then flagged for offside. Then, just three minutes later, Eric Dier finally broke the deadlock as he fired in a free kick.
With just a minute remaining, Russia stole a point as Vasili Berezutski brilliantly looped a header over Joe Hart.
It proved the final meaningful action of the game as the sides shared the spoils.
Image: Uefa Website
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