England vs. Ukraine  1 - 1

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Jagielka: We need to build on draw

12 September 2012 20:36

England's Phil Jagielka believes the team can build on their 1-1 draw with Ukraine and will still automatically qualify for the World Cup 2014.

The visitors nearly pulled off a shock win but England came away with a point when a late Frank Lampard penalty snatched a draw.

The Everton defender, who replaced the sidelined John Terry in the starting line-up, admitted the performance was not the best from Roy Hodgson's side, but said the team has plenty of room for improvement.

"We'd have loved to have had the full six points (from the first two games) but four points will do," Jagielka said.

"As long as we continue building on it, we'll be fine. (It was) definitely one point gained.

"We look forward to the next game now and if we can make that seven then it's a progression and hopefully we'll finish top of the group.

"But if you look at the chances we created, two or three pretty clear-cut ones in the first half and a couple more in the second - hitting the post and stuff - as much as the performance wasn't amazing, we still showed glimpses of being able to create the chances.

"If we'd taken them, especially earlier on, we'd have been in control of the game."

England had a Jermain Defoe goal disallowed as referee Cuneyt Cakir frequently blew his whistle against the home side to frustrate the Wembley faithful, and Jagielka admitted to being frustrated by the official's performance.

"We're winning the ball and the ref's either booking us or giving free kicks," Jagielka said. "So, a little bit frustrating but there's not much we can do about that.

"Thankfully, we managed to keep plugging away and get the penalty. Frank was calm as you like, finished it off, and a draw's not a bad result at the end."

Article

Gerrard still confident after draw

12 September 2012 15:48

Steven Gerrard insists England have what it takes to win their World Cup 2014 qualifying group despite a 1-1 draw against Ukraine on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old skipper saw red for the first time in his international career after receiving his second booking in the closing stages of the Wembley encounter.

And Gerrard's sending off was not the only foul that drew the wrath of Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, who booked eight other players and has been criticised for his performance.

"I don't think there was a bad tackle in the game, was there? And I think the referee's given seven yellow cards," Gerrard told the Daily Mail.

"So, it's disappointing for me because it's a red card - my first one in 98 caps.

"But we play San Marino next. I'm sure the boys can do the job without me and then I'll be available for Poland. I'm gutted over the red, but happy with my performance."

Gerrard admitted he was unhappy with dropping two points from a match England produced enough chances to win, but insisted he was pleased with the players' character.

"We wanted to win this game tonight. We're at home with our crowd behind us, so we're disappointed not to get the three points," he said.

"Having gone a goal down, I think we showed fantastic character and determination. We kept probing for the openings and, when the subs came on, I thought we created more chances.

"I thought we thoroughly deserved the point, if not a bit more on chances."

It was another close game between the two sides who also met at Euro 2012, and Gerrard feels Ukraine will be England's biggest rivals for supremacy in Group H.

"I think you've got to give them credit," he said. "They're a fantastic team and I think it's going to be between us two who tops this group. That's my prediction.

"I thought in general play, we controlled it. We looked the side who wanted to create all the openings and I think we'll probably have a better chance of beating them away because they'll have to come out and take more risks.

"But, credit to them, they've come to Wembley and they've taken two points off us."

Article

Ukraine ´in dark´ over England win

11 September 2012 12:36

Ukraine manager Oleg Blokhin has banned his players from watching replays of England's 5-0 thrashing of Moldova on Friday.

Blokhin's side are preparing for their World Cup qualifying showdown at Wembley on Tuesday.

England systematically took apart the European minnows in Chisinau and Blokhin claims his side will lose 8-0 if they play like Moldova did that night.

Blokhin told reporters: "I have told my players there is no point watching the Moldova v England game because one team dominated the whole match.

"If we are in the same position as Moldova we will lose 8-0 because they were beaten before they even came onto the pitch."

And the 59-year-old is relishing the prospect of facing England with the pressure now firmly on their opponent's shoulders after the two sides met in Donetsk during the Euro 2012 group stages.

"England is one of the best teams in the world, but have some problems with missing players," he added.

"When we played them at the Euros in Donetsk the pressure was all on my players because we were at home.

"Now the pressure is on England and my players have got nothing to fear."

Despite bad memories of that day in Donetsk when Marko Devic had a goal ruled out despite the ball appearing to cross the line, Blokhin prefers to leave the result in the past.

"Such is life," he insisted. "What happened in the past doesn't matter."

His team's captain, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk doesn't seem quite so ready to consign the defeat to history.

"Of course we've not forgotten the Euro 2012 game with England," he said.

"We were a lot better than them but had a good goal chalked off."

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World Cup qualifying preview: England v Ukraine

11 September 2012 08:40

After brushing aside Moldova, England's qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup begins in earnest with the visit of Ukraine on Tuesday.

Roy Hodgson's England made a flying start in their bid to reach the next FIFA showcase in Brazil, as they cruised to a 5-0 win over minnows Moldova on Friday.

Frank Lampard netted twice, his first goal from the penalty spot in just the third minute of the match, while Jermain Defoe, James Milner and Leighton Baines also scored, the latter two claiming their first strikes at international level.

The hosts proved no match for their heavyweight guests at the Zimbru Stadium, Chisinau, but Ukraine are unlikely to prove similar pushovers.

England were outplayed for the majority of their Euro 2012 Group D match against Ukraine in June, although Hodgson's men ultimately prevailed 1-0 thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal.

The tournament co-hosts enjoyed the bulk of possession at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk, and were denied a legitimate goal as the referee and his assistants failed to see a Marko Devic effort had crossed the line before John Terry cleared.

Following that injustice, Ukraine are likely to be on a revenge mission when they arrive at Wembley Stadium this week.

Oleg Blokhin's team will be without the retired Andriy Shevchenko, while England are missing both Rooney and Terry through injury.

Terry's Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole is also out, meaning Baines will continue to deputize at left-back.

Another Chelsea defender, Gary Cahill, could come in for Terry at centre-back, although Everton's Phil Jagielka is a candidate to partner former club colleague Joleon Lescott, now at Manchester City.

Sunderland winger Adam Johnson is another player to be sidelined, meaning Hodgson will either keep faith with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a wide role, or perhaps opt for his more experienced Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott.

The match at Wembley will be Ukraine's first of the qualifying campaign, they were held to a 0-0 draw in an international friendly against the Czech Republic in their most recent outing last month.

Article

Gerrard endorses Sterling selection

10 September 2012 19:07

Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool team-mate Raheem Sterling is deserving of his first senior England call-up.

Sterling was added to Roy Hodgson's England squad for the World Cup qualifier at home to Ukraine on Tuesday following the withdrawal of Theo Walcott due to illness.

Adam Lallana of Southampton and Tottenham's Jake Livermore have also been brought in for the match at Wembley Stadium.

While expressing his support for Hodgson's decision, Gerrard stressed the importance of not putting too much pressure on the 17-year-old Sterling and other young members of the squad.

"I think he (Sterling) deserves this call-up," Gerrard said.

"The impact he's made has been sensational really, he's been one of our (Liverpool's) shining lights.

"The results that we've had so far this season haven't been good enough but he's stood up and been really good.

"I think the important thing now is that he keeps his feet on the ground, keeps learning, and keeps trying to find a consistency in his game, but it won't be very long before he's in the set-up for real as a regular because he is that kind of talent."

Gerrard called for supporters and the media to keep their expectations in check regarding exciting young talent like Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"These young lads are fantastic talents, I think the important thing is that (the media) are patient with them as well and we don't try and rush them," he said.

"They've got a lot of tools to go on and become fantastic England players but let's not bill them up and put too much pressure on them.

"Let them just progress and become good players naturally, I'm certainly enjoying being captain and looking after them."

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Hodgson excited by young prospects

10 September 2012 16:35

Roy Hodgson has welcomed the inclusion of uncapped duo Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling for England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

With Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge battling illness, England manager Hodgson called on Southampton midfielder Lallana and Liverpool winger Sterling ahead of Tuesday's clash at Wembley.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jake Livermore, who has one international cap to his name, was also brought in.

"It is good, when you have a chance, to get these players around for a short period of time," Hodgson told reporters on Monday.

"I have watched Adam in Southampton and I've known about him for some while.

"With Raheem, I met him a few years ago at Liverpool and of course in the last few years he has come on in leaps and bounds. This was a chance to bring him into the group.

"It's very good for us to have these obvious talents coming through and succeeding when they break onto the scene."

Arsenal midfielder Walcott was withdrawn from the squad, though Chelsea forward Sturridge remains hopeful of taking on Ukraine.

"Theo has picked up some sort of virus," Hodgson said.

"He was violently ill last night but Daniel actually trained and got through the session.

"(But) today, he woke up with the same sort of stomach cramps, so we were advised to keep him out of training.

"We called up the extra players just in case. We hope they are isolated cases with the two players."

England accounted for Moldova 5-0 in their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier on Friday.

Article

Sterling called up to England squad

10 September 2012 14:58

Raheem Sterling, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana have been called up to the England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has left the national team camp due to illness, while Daniel Sturridge sat out training on Monday with stomach cramps.

While Walcott has pulled out entirely, Chelsea forward Sturridge is expected to be fit for the match at home to Ukraine on Tuesday.

England manager Roy Hodgson had already lost fullback Ashley Cole and winger Stewart Downing to injury, while John Terry has been sidelined by the ankle knock he suffered in England's 5-0 win away to Moldova on Friday.

Centre-forward Andy Carroll - on loan at West Ham United from Liverpool - was named in the original squad before suffering a hamstring strain against Fulham.

Those withdrawals have prompted the inclusion of Tottenham midfielder Livermore, Southampton forward Lallana and Sterling, who has impressed since making his Liverpool debut under Brendan Rodgers this season.

The decision to include Kingston-born Sterling may be seen as an attempt to ward off the interest of the Jamaica national team.

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Lampard poised for England legend status

10 September 2012 11:26

Frank Lampard said he has never thought of retiring from international football.

Despite sitting out Euro 2012 injured and having experiencing abused from England fans, Lampard has always been motivated to play for the national team, even though it has not always been easy..

The 34-year-old has won 92 England caps and having netted twice against Moldova on Friday, he now has 25 international goals and the opportunity to become his country's greatest midfield goalscorer in the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday.

"I am very proud of my England career. With England careers, they can't always be rosy for any player especially if you are going to get towards 100 caps," he told ESPN.

"I am very proud of the games, the goals, the games I have been involved in. The only downside is that we have not won anything. That's something we all want to put right."

The Chelsea midfielder insisted he always wanted to keep playing for the team despite becoming a target for England fans' abuse in the course of the unsuccessful qualifying campaign for Euro 2008.

He added: "I am pleased I didn't bail out when I was getting stick because there can be easy routes particularly when you get to 30. You are allowed to retire from that age onwards.

"I was never interested in that. Whether I carry on playing one more game or 15, I'd like to think people will say 'he was really proud to play for his country and put in a good contribution'. If they say that I will be very happy."

Lampard withdrew from England’s Euro 2012 training camp with a thigh injury, but returned to captain the side in August's friendly against Italy, and commented that his absence represented an opportunity to bow out that he would never have taken.

He continued: "When I got injured in the summer, it was one of those but I never actually considered it [retiring from international football]. I haven't got it in me. I'm not saying I'll stay available to be picked forever because it becomes obvious at some stage. But it's not my thing.

"My dad has always been a quiet advocate of playing for your country and the fact you are a long time retired, that while you feel you can contribute, do it.

"Even in those tough times, when I had a tough game, or was getting stick, my dad was adamant on me staying in the game because we are so privileged to be here. But I didn't talk to him this summer as I knew the answer I'd have got - 'keep going'.

"I don't know whether I am taken for granted. I don't believe so. I am very proud to be here.

"I have played through injuries at times and I like to think I have made myself available every time because I am very pleased to be here."

Article

Lampard, Milner ready for Ukraine clash

9 September 2012 19:36

Frank Lampard has backed England to overcome the loss of John Terry for their 2014 World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Tuesday.

Centre-back Terry suffered an ankle injury during England's 5-0 win away to Moldova on Friday, ruling him out of the next match at Wembley Stadium.

His Chelsea colleague Lampard acknowledged the veteran's absence will be a blow, but is confident Terry's understudies are capable of filling the void.

"John's ... a top player who experienced in playing these kinds of qualifying games, so it'd be a blow to anyone," he said.

"But I think we are blessed with fantastic back-up players who didn't play the other night, like Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka.

"I think whoever comes in there is an experienced, top player. As in any case when you lose a big player in your team, you need the squad to step up and I'm sure we've got that."

England were somewhat fortunate to beat Ukraine 1-0 when the two teams met in Group D of the European Championships in June, and midfielder James Milner knows first-hand how much of a challenge Oleg Blokhin's team will pose.

"Well, obviously it will be slightly different, although the squads will be similar," he said.

"This time it's on our home turf and we need to make sure that we put in a good performance and they showed at the Euros that they are no pushovers.

"They're a strong side with a number of good players; well-organised and they work very hard applying pressure for 90 minutes."

"We need to be on top of our game.

"If we can perform like we did the other night (against Moldova) and come out of the traps quickly, then hopefully we can get an early goal again, settle down and then play some good football."

Article

England´s Terry out of Ukraine match

9 September 2012 16:49

John Terry will miss England's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on Tuesday after failing to recover from an injury suffered against Moldova.

The Chelsea captain picked up the ankle problem in the second half of England's 5-0 win away to Moldova on Friday but remained on the pitch as Roy Hodgson had already used all three substitutes.

Terry's club team-mate Gary Cahill is his likely replacement, although Everton defender Phil Jagielka is also a candidate to partner Joleon Lescott at the heart of England's defence.

Hodgson has already lost first-choice left-back Ashley Cole for the clash with Ukraine as well as Sunderland attacker Adam Johnson and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

Manchester City midfielder James Milner admitted losing a player of Terry's quality was a blow, but has faith in depth of talent at England's disposal.

He told reporters: "Obviously JT is a top player and will be tough to replace, but we've got a number of top candidates who can step right in, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem."

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Cole ruled out of Ukraine qualifier

8 September 2012 19:22

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has been ruled out of England's 2014 World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Tuesday with an ankle injury.

Cole has been struggling with the problem he picked up in Chelsea's 4-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, and missed England's 5-0 win over Moldova on Friday.

Leighton Baines deputised for Cole at left-back against Moldova, and scored his first international goal - England's fifth of the game - from a free-kick.

John Terry, meanwhile, is a doubt for the clash with Ukraine at Wembley.

The Chelsea captain is receiving treatment for his own ankle injury he picked up against Moldova.

Terry limped through the final 20 minutes of the game in central midfield as manager Roy Hodgson had used all three substitutes.

However, speaking after the game, the England manager was optimistic about his centre-back's prospects, claiming the injury was not expected to prove serious.