Ukraine 1-1 England: Three Lions on track for Euro 2024 despite laboured draw

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

England drew 1-1 against Ukraine after a laboured performance that kept their Euro 2024 qualification campaign on track nonetheless.

Gareth Southgate would have been pleased to see his side, which featured oft-criticised stalwarts Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, dominate the ball early on to the tune of 85 per cent possession as the 20-minute mark passed.

However, they had only a blocked Bukayo Saka shot to show for it and Ukraine took the lead with their first real attack of the game.

A swift attack down the right flank saw Ben Chilwell isolated against Yukhym Konoplya’s overlap and the right-back picked out Oleksandr Zinchenko for a cool finish past Jordan Pickford.

England bounced back by reasserting their control of the ball without fixing their earlier issues, primarily a lack of killer pass or creative movement.

Both of those problems were expelled on 43 minutes when Harry Kane’s delightful ball from deep picked out Kyle Walker’s perfectly timed run into the box. The veteran defender steadied himself before netting his first international goal, 12-and-a-half years after his Three Lions debut.

England improved slightly after the break and almost led when Bukayo Saka was gifted time and space in the D, his ferocious effort superbly tipped onto the bar by goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan.

Few other serious attacks were forged by either side as the points were shared.

England remain six points clear atop Group C with Ukraine taking their game in hand against Italy on Tuesday, which should determine the frontrunner to dislodge the Three Lions from top spot.

Southgate’s men face Scotland in a friendly next with Italy and Malta to come at Wembley later this year before their qualification run ends in North Macedonia.