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EURO 2012 GROUP D: England battle to share the points with France

England took the lead but France quickly levelled as both team's had to settle for a 1-1 draw in their opening Group D game. England have now failed to win their opening game in all 8 Euros in which they have competed, but coach Roy Hodgson will be satisfied with a point against the more accomplished French.

For the dominance of the French they created few chances as England kept their shape and made life difficult for their opponents, only in the closing minutes of both halves did the French exert any concerted pressure.

Joleon Lescott scored his first ever England goal on the half-hour heading home Steven Gerrard's free kick exposing a weakness in the France back four.

Earlier James Milner should have put the Three Lions ahead when he rounded the keeper but failed to find the back of the net from a tight angle.

But that lead only lasted nine minutes before the French stepped up a gear and Samir Nasri fired in a leveller from distance, beating his goalkeeping colleague Joe Hart at his near post.

For the remainder of the first period England struggled to contain the French and were happy to hear the first half whistle blow.

Roy Hodgson's side started the second period brightly without creating may goalscoring opportunities, but gradually France wrestled control back and England were content to defend in depth and attack on the counter in hot conditions.

France ended the game on the ascendancy but overall Hart had only to make saves from distance as both teams looked to settle for a point.

England's next Group D fixture is against Sweden on Friday, with France up against co-hosts Ukraine.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

Venue: Donbass Arena, Donetsk

Attendance: 42,000

England scorers: Lescott 30 France scorers: Nasri 39

Yellow cards: Oxlade-Chamberlain (ENG), Young (ENG)

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Dave Williams

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