Euro 2012: Lucky England stumble into quarter-finals

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Wayne Rooney
Donetsk, Jun 20: England has scraped into the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 here after a goal-line refereeing blunder helped them to a 1-0 win over Ukraine which sent the co-hosts crashing out.

A 48th-minute header from returning talisman Wayne Rooney was enough to see England finish top of Group D yesterday and send them into a quarter-final in Kiev on Sunday against Italy.

England's journey through to the quarter-finals was never a easy task. It was similar with Ukraine as they forced their forward dominating possession and tested the Lions the back-line on many occasions.

Ukraine -- missing injured captain Andrei Shevchenko -- were desperately unlucky not to have earned at least a draw after Marko Devic had a clear goal wrongly disallowed on 62 minutes. Devic had powered into the box and his looping shot had flown over keeper Joe Hart towards goal. John Terry launched himself into an acrobatic clearance to hook the ball away but despite furious Ukrainian appeals no goal was given.

Television replays, however, showed the ball had crossed the line by several inches but had incredibly been missed by the additional assistant referee stationed behind the goal.

It was a goal-line controversy that echoed Frank Lampard's disallowed effort for England against Germany at the 2010 World Cup and is almost certain to hasten the introduction of goal-line technology.

FIFA is expected to approve the introduction of two systems which are currently being tested at a meeting after the European Championships. England will head to their quarter-final meeting with Italy chastened by the knowledge that on another night they could have been heading home after being outplayed for much of the match.

England coach Roy Hodgson was proud of the way his players had battled to preserve their advantage and make it five games unbeaten since he took over.

AFP

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