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WC Qualification Europe
September 10, 2013
• NSK Olimpijs'kyj, Kyiv (Kiev)
Referee: Pedro Proença
• Attendance: 69890
Both sets of fans can go home happy - and I hope you readers can too, as that's all from me Tim Poole. Until next time, take care.
As it stands, England top Group H with 16 points, while Ukraine are now second with 15 - above Montenegro on goal difference.
Although it was hardly an attacking masterclass from Roy Hodgson's men, they did the job defensively and came away from Kiev with an important point. Ukraine will feel they could have won the game, though their hopes of automatic qualification are by no means dead in the water - especially after another superb performance from Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka.
So that's that from Kiev tonight and England have done themselves proud.
90' + 3'
90' + 1'
CHANCE! Lampard almost caps his 100th England game in the perfect fashion. A loose cross was floating around in the Ukraine penalty area and Lampard dove in to head the ball just wide. So close for the visitors!
We are into injury time and the ball is in the Ukraine half, much to the relief of Hodgson and his men.
There are mere minutes left in Kiev and both sides look set for a draw here. Will there be any late drama?
Lambert attempts to hold the ball up but, instead, gives away a handball. A free kick is awarded to the home side.
Could England have been one or two up by now with a fully fit trio of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge? Food for thought.
England attempt to create some pressure down the right-hand side, although the ball is cleared straight up the other end to Hart.
Pressure at the other end requires a series of defenders to head the ball clear, though, as Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka announce themselves once again with just minutes left to play. A late winner either way would provide a killer blow, here.
CHANCE! Walker whips the ball in from the right after winning it with a fantastic challenge and Walcott almost turns the cross into the back of the net! His prod sails just wide, however.
The visitors win a throw-in in an advanced position down the left, now. Are they beginning to steady the ship?
The ensuing set-piece is cleared, though, and another cross that follows is easily collected by Pyatov.
England win a rare corner after a Cole cross is headed in behind.
ENGLAND SURVIVE AGAIN! A corner is whipped in and a Fedetskiy header is sent straight towards goal. Hart is there to collect, however, but these are tense times for the Three Lions. Roman Bezus' introduction has given the hosts some impetus up front.
England are being forced to weather a storm here, although Walcott almost forces an opportunity on the counter until a poor pass gives the ball straight back to the home side.
CLOSE! Konoplyanka it is who takes the free kick and his curling shot is deflected wide. Important touch!
Yellow Card Kyle Walker
CHANCE! Ukraine have a free kick in a very dangerous position after a clumsy challenge from Walker on the edge of the area!
Walcott will survive to see another day and it is Wilshere who comes off for Young - definitely an attacking move.
Proenca stops play once again for a foul by Zozulya. Both sides look as though they would be happy to take a draw, although this result would suit England a lot more than the hosts.
Ashley Young is warming up on the sidelines. Could he provide a much-needed injection of creativity for England?
It really was a sinister challenge and Walcott looks to be coming off as a result. Gerrard whips the free kick brought about by the foul into the Ukraine area but a foul is given against England and normal service is resumed.
Yellow Card Olexandr Kucher
Walcott is cynically brought down in the Ukraine half and referee Proenca produces the first yellow card of the day.
There have been little to no clearcut chances in this second half but Ukraine are piling the pressure on their visitors now.
CLEARANCE! Great link-up play from Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka ends with the ball in the England penalty area but Gerrard is on hand to thump the ball clear. Had the skipper not intervened there, Husyev would have been one-on-one with Hart merely yards away from goal!
An open second-half has far from kicked into gear here, despite chances for either side. Both teams have stood strong defensively so far.
The away side continue to press down the right-hand side, however, and Walcott, Walker and Wishere are causing all sorts of trouble for the Ukrainian full-backs.
Their advances come to an end after a foul from Cahill concedes a free kick, though.
Ukraine are unable to make much of their advantage, however, as England hold their form well at the back before counterattacking down the other end.
The home side have enjoyed almost 100% of possession so far since the restart.
Ukraine win a corner, which is cleared by Lampard for another corner. This one is delivered to the near post, before Yarmolenko gets to the ball and whips another dangerous cross in from the left. Cole is this time on hand to head clear.
Jagielka and Cahill are able to clear once each as Ukraine push forward and deliver floated crosses into the England penalty area.
The home side this time get us underway for the second half!
A reminder that the current standings will see England stay top of Group H on 16 points, with Ukraine moving into second ahead of Montenegro on goal difference.
For Ukraine, a bright start became an increasingly frustrating half, although they will still feel fully capable of taking all three points here. Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka have, predictably, been their biggest threats so far and more will be expected from them in the second half. More to come right here, stay with us...
HALF-TIME! After one minute of added time, referee Pedro Proença brings the first half to a close. So far, so good for England - even if it has been unspectacular from the Three Lions to say the least.
Gerrard's resultant delivery is a poor one, although he improves on it with his second effort. However, the danger is dealt with and the home side race straight up the other end on the counter. The panic is over for England as Hart collects an inswinging cross, though.
The answer is no - but not for a lack of trying! Lampard's free kick is struck well but sent out for a corner by the Ukraine wall. The ball hit an arm but it was, by no means, a deliberate handball.
It is a characteristic Hodgson performance, in fairness. And now England have another free kick in a good position as reward for their resilience. Could Lampard cap his 100th England game with a trademark 25-yard free kick?
A stubborn, defensive approach seems to be paying dividends for Roy Hodgson's side tonight in Kiev.
It is the home side who are struggling to keep the ball now, encouragingly for the visitors.
But they are almost caught on the break! Yarmolenko breaks down the left and crosses the ball into Zozulya, whose heavy touch sees the ball roll into the grateful arms of Hart.
England are beginning to show more and more initiative now, in their defence.
Cahill's delivery is dealt with extremely comfortably, however, although the Three Lions will be happy just to be preventing their opponents from going forward.
A free kick in a dangerous position is now awarded for the visitors as Walcott is impeded.
Jagielka cuts out an attacking Ukrainian pass and the visitors are able to regain possession and build an attack, although Wilshere eventually loses possession with an attempted through ball.
A foul is awarded in Cole's favour - much to the Chelsea defender's relief - as Yarmolenko almost wrestles him to the ground.
Now an incisive pass from Wilshere rolls just a little too far of Walcott in the opposition penalty area. England are showing more and more attacking movement.
Sharp movement from Lampard, Wilshere and Walcott catches the hosts off guard and Gerrard is allowed space outside the area to take his time and curl a long-range strike just over the bar. The ball clips the back of the net - but only on the wrong side of the woodwork.
Taras Stepanenko is the villian for Ukraine now as a promising move breaks down after the midfielder launches an aimless long ball off for a throw-in. This game has not been an advert for high-quality long-distance passing.
The visitors continue to drive down the left, as though they have identified a weakness in the home side, but Milner's cross is collected by Pyatov with considerable ease once again.
England now try to press forward from the left but the move breaks down after poor play from Walcott - once again.
Walcott is played in by Lambert this time but too much trickery from the Arsenal forward sees him dispossessed by a group of yellow shirts.
They are not resting on their laurels, however, as Lambert tries to thread the ball through to James Milner, with the Manchester City midfielder chasing the pass inside the penalty area. The ball is overhit, though, and Pyatov is able to easily collect.
Perhaps more to the visitors' benefit, play has slowed down in Kiev. England will most certainly be better off if tonight finishes a draw.
Edmar sends a lofted pass to Roman Zozulya but the ball is too high for the 23-year-old and sails past him.
The whistle goes again, this time for a foul, as Walker brings down Konoplyanka. Walker is having less and less joy against his opposite number down England's right-hand side.
Husyev is ruled offside by the referee before spending a brief few moments on the floor after coming off worse in a 50/50 aerial duel.
Another poor pass from Cole sells Jack Wilshere short in midfield as Ukraine are allowed to comfortably steal the ball off England and enjoy an extended passage of play. Until a long ball is sent straight to Hart, that is.
It has been a truly end-to-end encounter so far, with both sides surely realising they will need to give no less than 100% to come away from tonight with a result.
Now Ukraine surge forward, though, and Konoplyanka is allowed to cut inside and unleash a shot. But Cahill gets a solid block in to send the ball out for a corner.
A corner is awarded after Lambert, then Phil Jagielka, fail to get on the end of another free kick properly and it is cleared. The corner is dealt with, however, but England press on once more.
Another free kick for the away side now as the atmopshere reaches fever pitch in the stands.
England are next to threaten, however, as Pyatov is required to punch away a Gerrard delivery.
The visitors are trying to slow play down and keep possession. However, they are let down by a poor long ball from Ashley Cole - surprisingly.
The momentum has swung from side to side many times so far - but it is currently all Ukraine in Kiev.
ANOTHER CHANCE! A superb pass makes its way to Fedetskiy, who this time controls the ball superbly, but the danger is then cleared for a corner.
CHANCE! Oleh Husyev sends a cross to the far post, which is misread by Gerrard but then miscontrolled by Artem Fedetskiy. Let off for England!
Another corner for England! This time it's Rickie Lambert who wins it for the away side, though it is easily dealt with by the Ukrainian defence.
Walker is sold short by an underhit pass from Walcott in an advanced area and the hosts regain possession.
Yevhen Konoplyanka has been lethal down the left-hand side so far, even causing problems for Kyle Walker with his pace - some feat. It was he who scored Ukraine's stunning opener at Wembley in the reverse fixture. Quite the danger man.
More attacking initiative from the home side as a cross comes into the England area and Hart is forced to palm the ball away on two occasions.
Pyatov is back up and running as he collects a loose cross and slows play down. He may need to if anyone is to pause for breath, it has been a very open start from both sides and they could both be 1-0 up already.
And another! Cahill once again gets onto the end of Gerrard's corner and his header is cleared out of the six-yard area.
Another corner here as Gary Cahill's header is deflected behind...
CHANCE! Theo Walcott latches onto a loose ball at the other end and needs to be foiled by Andriy Pyatov as the ball goes out for a corner. The home side's stopper stays down injured as a result, it was quite a clash.
Controversy! Ukraine surge forward during the first minute and win a corner - despite Joe Hart bringing a Ukrainian forward down in the area. The referee deemed it a fair challenge and England eventually regained possession to clear the danger.
And we're off! England - Lampard and Steven Gerrard more specifically - get us underway.
The national anthems are being sung and we are just minutes away from kick-off in Kiev. Stay with us for all the action!
Meanwhile, the last time these two sides met, Ukraine left Wembley with a convincing performance and a 1-1 draw. And the time before that, England snuck a 1-0 win during Euro 2012 - but in controversial circumstances as Marko Devic's legitimate goal was wrongly ruled out. What more could we need to spice up tonight's affair? All stations go, we are nearly ready.
Interestingly, 24 of Ukraine's 25 players play in Ukraine, while the big news for England is undoubtedly the fact that Frank Lampard will be earning his 100th cap for the Three Lions.
And the home side will look like this tonight: Pyatov; Fedetskiy, Kucher (C), Shevchuk, Khacheridi; Edmar, Husyev, Stepanenko, Konoplyanka, Yarmolenko; Zozulya.
England will line-up like this: Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Cole; Walcott, Lampard, Gerrard (C), Wilshere, Milner; Lambert.
The Three Lions therefore face a tough task in trying to overcome a side with clean sheets in their last four games. And their challenge has been made even more difficult through injuries to Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge, with Danny Welbeck also suspended.
In their last games, England beat Moldova 4-0 - but Ukraine romped to a staggering 9-0 win against San Marino. Moreover, the Ukrainian national side thumped second-placed Montenegro 4-0 in their previous encounter.
The state of play as we go into tonight's crunch clash could not be more finely poised. Visiting England, who top the group, have 15 points to their name, while hosts Ukraine lie third just one point behind on 14. Today's encounter, then, has the potential to be make or break for both sides.
Good evening readers and welcome to LIVE play-by-play commentary of Ukraine against England in Group H of World Cup Qualification. I'm your host Tim Poole and I'll be bringing you all the action as the Three Lions look to provide the Great British public with their customary set of both inexplicable highs and unspeakable lows. That's right, it's time for the big one.
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