Ukraine 1 England 1: Kyle Walker comes to the rescue after Zinchenko's opener but Three Lions lose 100% Euro 2024 record | The Sun

KYLE WALKER’S maiden international goal, in his 77th England appearance, kept Gareth Southgate’s side on course for next summer’s Euros. 

A stunning assist from skipper Harry Kane allowed the outstanding Manchester City full-back to equalise just before half-time after Oleksandr Zinchenko had fired Ukraine into a shock lead. 

But this was England’s most disappointing performance since the World Cup group-stage draw with the United States, as they gave up their 100 per cent record in this qualifying campaign. 

Despite a host of in-form attacking players, Southgate’s team lacked their usual fluency and failed to create enough clear-cut chances despite dominating possession at the Tarczynski Arena in the Polish city of Ukraine. 

A passionate crowd of displaced Ukrainian fans, exiled from their war-torn homeland, roared on Sergiy Rebrov’s side, who defended stoutly and were threatening on the counter-attack. 

England will now have to wait until next month’s Wembley clash with Italy, at the earliest, before they clinch qualification for the finals in Germany. 


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The Three Lions now face an in-form Scotland in a Hampden Park ‘friendly’ on Tuesday and Steve Clarke’s Tartan Army will have little to fear on the basis of this sloppy display.

Southgate could call on a clutch of players inspired by summer moves – Kane, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Maddison. 

But his most controversial selection was that of Jordan Henderson, whose switch to Saudi Pro League club Al-Ettifaq has caused a storm with LGBT fans, while also casting doubt on his international future in footballing terms. 

Ukraine’s players were draped in their national flag for the anthems and there was a feverish atmosphere before kick-off among the thousands of Ukrainian fans living here in Poland.

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England were utterly dominant early on – with Bellingham full of confidence and invention – but they were unable to carve out a decent scoring opportunity.

Bukayo Saka appeared to be inhibited by an early knock and Ukraine, having defended assuredly, began to grow as an attacking force. 

There were a few shaky moments for the English defence before Ukraine seized the lead on 26 minutes.

Their right-back Yukhym Konoplia surged down the right past Ben Chilwell and cut back for Zinchenko to drill home – England’s midfield having failed to pick up the Arsenal man’s run and Jordan Pickford diving the wrong way. 

England were provoked into a renewed sense of urgency but Henderson skied a shot and Southgate’s side were beginning to show frustration – Maddison booked for a foul on Illia Zabarnyi. 

Bellingham carved open the Ukraine defence with a diagonal pass but Maddison failed to capitalise with a poor first touch. 

The place was rocking and England appeared to be wilting. They needed something out of the ordinary to equalise – and that’s what they produced.  

Kane had dropped so deep he was standing next to his central defenders, to the side of the centre circle, when he conjured a visionary diagonal pass all of 40 yards towards Walker.

The City defender chested down, rifled past Georgiy Bushchan and survived a VAR check for offside to break his duck after 12 years as an international footballer. 

After the break Maguire headed on to the roof of the net from a Walker cross and a Henderson centre had Bushchan sprawling.

But a sloppy Bellingham pass afforded Ukraine a half-chance but Georgiy Sudakov screwed his shot well wide. 

England had been struggling for fluency, on a difficult playing surface, but they clicked into gear when Maddison fed Kane, who held it up and slipped a pass to Saka, the Arsenal man leathering a shot which Bushchan tipped on to the bar.

Saka exchanged passes with Maddison, wriggled past a defender but had a shot blocked. 

Midway through the second half, Southgate introduced Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden in place of Bellingham and Maddison, neither of whom had truly sparked. 

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Rashford had an angled drive pushed out by Bushchan, who then saved a close-range effort from a lunging Maguire. 

Walker capped a fine personal display with a couple of excellent late challenges to dispossess Mykhailo Mudryk as Ukraine broke menacingly.

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