Dominant England punished by Russia for wasteful finishing
By Philip O'Connor
PARIS (Reuters) - A youthful England side produced a performance full of verve and skill but were punished for failing to convert their dominance into goals as Russia grabbed a late equalizer in their Euro 2016 opener in Marseille on Saturday.
The end of the Group B match, which finished 1-1, was marred by violence in the stands as supporters clashed after the final whistle and, despite their superb performance, England will be left rueing their missed opportunities.
"I think we played well but we didn't take our chances. The lads are disappointed not to get the win but we can take a lot of positives," England captain Wayne Rooney said. "We looked solid for 90 minutes. The performance was worthy of the win."
Unable to convert possession into goals, England were hit by a late sucker-punch that condemned them to yet another poor start at the European Championship -- in nine tournaments they have drawn five and lost four of their opening games.
Roy Hodgson's side was the second-youngest to appear for England at a major tournament, only surpassed in terms of its youth by the team that faced Sweden at the 2002 World Cup.
In the beginning it did not show as England dominated most of the exchanges, producing chance after chance from open play and set pieces as they ran at the Russians.
Adam Lallana, Rooney and Harry Kane all had decent chances in the first half, but more often than not their efforts flew harmlessly wide or straight at the keeper.
With England attacking seemingly at will, centrally and down the flanks, balls were flashed into the box from all angles and it seemed a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. Continued...