England fought back to claim a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine yesterday and stay six points clear atop Group C after Kyle Walker netted from a sublime pass by Harry Kane for his first international goal.
England dominated possession but Ukraine opened the scoring against the run of play in the 26th minute through Oleksandr Zinchenko after Yukhym Konoplia cut back a pass from the right for the midfielder to sidefoot past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Ukraine have not played at home since Russia launched an invasion of the country in February 2022 and the crowd noise inside Tarczynski Arena in Poland was deafening at times.
Gareth Southgate’s side levelled close to the break after skipper Kane gathered the ball in midfield and superbly picked out Walker who neatly controlled the ball and slotted home with a composed finish for his first England goal.
Walker bemoaned his side’s missed chances but said getting a draw on the road marked a good return for a side that had 11 attempts compared to two for Ukraine.
England played more directly after the break and started creating more opportunities, including a Bukayo Saka shot that bounced off the bar.
With about 25 minutes left, Southgate replaced James Maddison and Jude Bellingham with Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford but neither substitute was able to lift England past a resolute Ukraine who played higher up the pitch after halftime.
England, who conceded just their second goal in qualifying, are top with 13 points from five games followed by Ukraine on seven from four. The draw against Ukraine marked the first time England have dropped points in the qualifying campaign.
Meanwhile, North Macedonia captain Enis Bardhi’s stunning free kick cancelled out Ciro Immobile’s header to earn a 1-1 home draw against Italy, spoiling Luciano Spalletti’s debut as the Azzurri coach.