Tonight we watched from behind our sofas as Wayne Rooney marked his England return with the goal that secured a place for England in Euro 2012’s last eight – but it was a rough passage eased by helpings of good fortune and controversy against Ukraine.
Ukraine, however, will complain long and hard about a contentious second-half incident when Marko Devic’s shot clearly crossed the line before it was scrambled away by John Terry, only for the officials to remain unmoved. The incident immediately revived the debate about goal-line technology, with a final decision on whether it is introduced expected to be taken in Zurich on 5 July.
England will of course regard it as a measure of justice for Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany in Bloemfontein at the 2010 World Cup – but it was also an illustration of how they rode their luck for long periods in front of a predictably partisan home crowd in Kiev tonight.
The Ukrainians immediately demanded a goal and their claims were vindicated as replays showed the ball crossed the line before Terry’s intervention.
Before the game manager Roy Hodgson had said England could dream a little – ahead of the confrontation with Italy in Kiev, they can now afford to dream a little more.
But lets not get too carried away! We get so above ourselves in these tournaments and the nation as a whole always seems to think that the England team can win the whole thing! This is quite clearly unlikely to happen while are unable to achieve No.1 status in the FIFA World Rankings. We are currently No. 6 in the world and No. 4 in Europe, meaning the very best we should perhaps be hoping for in this competition is 4th place and anything better than this is a bonus?
Sorry – you might not like that, but it’s true!