What they said: Post-match reaction from England vs. Russia

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Goalscorer: Vasili Berezutski.

England were left disappointed in Marseille on Saturday night after conceding in stoppage time to allow Russia to share the points from their opening Pool B encounter.

Sport360 rounds-up the best of the post-match reaction from the south of France.

Eric Dier, England goalscorer:

“It’s disappointing because we were so close to a win in our first game. I thought it would have been well deserved. Our emotions went from a high to a low pretty quickly, but we have more games to look forward to and have to pick ourselves up.

“It is one of the best moments I’ve had in football, a fantastic moment, and to celebrate with our fans who were fantastic around the stadium. I would have taken a win, though, with someone else scoring.

“I’ve seen lots of his [David Beckham’s] free-kicks. Ever since I was younger it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing and practised a lot.”

Roy Hodgson, England coach:

“I have the same emotions as the players. To say we are bitterly disappointed would be an understatement. We were that close to a deserved victory and to lose it with one minute of injury time remaining is a tough pill to swallow, but that happens in football.

When we analyse the game tomorrow there’ll be a lot of things we will want to take forward and hopefully we’ll be able to put the memory of this last-minute goal behind us.

I thought we were good for the first 45 minutes and the last 30 minutes of the second half. We weren’t very good for the first 15 minutes of the second half and allowed them to play too many long balls forward. For 15 minutes we didn’t establish the control we had, but we overcame that and re-established control.”

Joe Hart, England goalkeeper:

“It was a good performance, but fair play to Russia because they stayed in the game and got the goal. They stood the ball up, he has springs in his heels and has looped it into the corner.

“It is not tough to take positives, because we played well. We will build on it and get better, win more games.

“There are a lot of positives, and that is what we are going to have to draw on.”

England captain Wayne Rooney:

“We played some really good football. We were creating chances for 90 minutes, so we are disappointed because the performance we felt was worthy of three points.

“We knew Russia’s danger was the big man up front, if they were going to get the goal you knew that is where it was going to come. He is a big lad, and is going to win headers at some stage. Unfortunately for us it was in a dangerous position and they got the goal from it.

“We are disappointed we didn’t get three points, but we have to move on. It is one point and there are a lot of positives in the performance.”

Leonid Slutsky, Russia coach:

My players stuck at it until the end and they rescued a point, which is tricky to do. England dominated the match, but we were still able to contain them and their dangerous forwards.

We were playing against a 4-3-3 or even a diamond system, so we were prepared for those two different tactical alternatives – we were prepared to play against both systems. We focused on their movement.

As for their intensity, we tried to outdo them. That said, England are one of the quickest teams on the planet so I don’t know if we were able to succeed in what I’d planned.”

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Late equaliser denies England in opener

Sport360 staff 12/06/2016

England seemed to be heading for victory when midfielder Eric Dier fired in a 20 metre free kick past Russia’s veteran goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

But three minutes from the final whistle in the Group B match, Joe Hart and his defence took their eye off the ball. Berezutski rose to meet a cross and sent a looping header into the net.

England players walked off disconsolate while there was more violence in the Stade Velodrome as fans left, adding to the 31 injured in street battles in the Marseille port district earlier.

England had to battle with the injury-depleted Russians to get ahead in the 77th minute however.

England won a free kick on the edge of the area when Russian left-back Georgi Shchennikov impeded Spurs midfielder Dele Alli.

After Harry Kane’s dummy run, Gary Cahill created a hole in the defensive wall and Dier stepped up to fire into the top corner of the net.

It was England’s first free-kick goal in a major tournament since David Beckham scored against Ecuador in 2006.

Hodgson must now be concerned about England’s wastefulness however.

The Young Lions’ zest, energy and superior footwork helped created a succession of opportunities in a one-sided opening half that had the Russians struggling to keep pace.

Adam Lallana wasted their best chance when he drilled wide of Akinfeev’s far post just before the half hour.

It looked promising for England when Lallana pounced on Kane’s flicked header to send Sterling through the middle, but Igor Smolnikov slid in to clear the danger.

Russia, looking slow in comparison, were bamboozled by Alli’s footwork deep on the right. He set up Rooney, who flicked the ball up to fire a volley that Akinfeev punched to safety eight minutes before the interval.

It brought raucous applause from England’s support but, immediately afterwards, even louder calls for the ball to hit the back of the net.

Russia resumed in more positive fashion after the interval and when Aleksandr Kokorin broke free on the right to set up Artem Dzyuba, it took Raheem Sterling to rush in and clear the danger.

England’s first-half efforts appeared to have taken a toll, Russia steadily gaining some momentum.

An awkward defensive header from Dier at a Russian corner forced Joe Hart into his best save of the match. Just after the hour Fedor Smolov forced the goalkeeper into action with an ambitious 20-yard drive that crept dangerously wide.

Rooney, however, had fans up out their seats on 71 minutes when he pounced on a poor clearance from a Walker cross to force Akinfeev into a great save that came off the crossbar.

Lallana pounced on the follow-up to fire across the bows, but he was already offside.

England’s best chance looked most likely to come from a dead ball situation and when Alli tumbled over Shchennikov, it gave them a golden opportunity.

But Russia refused to throw in the towel and when they broke clear on the left, Berezutski did well to rise above Danny Rose to leave Hart, and England stunned.

#360FANS VIEW

– LENAR SAYFULLIN, RUSSIA

In the first-half we could not play our game and England had a few good chances to score and were dominating. I was still hoping we would have one or two chances to score and at least salvage a point from the game. Second-half England were faster and put pressure on our defenders. Physically they were much better and won a lot of challenges with very intense football. Our goalkeeper Akinfeev made some really great saves but the free-kick from Dier was unstoppable. We didn’t give up though and were rewarded with a last-gasp goal. I think all the players did a great job against England. We could not create many chances and England dominated but people will only remember the final score which was 1-1, bringing a lot of satisfaction to us Russian fans.

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Euro 2016 Player of the Day: Hal Robson-Kanu

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Hal Robson-Kanu.

Gareth Bale, the world’s most expensive player, opened the scoring with a sumptuous free-kick but he was upstaged by Hal Robson-Kanu, a free agent without a club, and his shinned winner.

The 27-year-old is currently out of contract with Reading but the relatively unknown striker has his name in the history books after sealing the Dragons’ first ever win at a European Championship.

But his presence was felt way before his winner. Slovakia’s equalizer had been coming and it seemed more damage would be done, which is why Chris Coleman’s decision to bring on Robson-Kanu was so crucial, not just in terms of his winning contribution, but also his ability to hold the ball up when Wales were penned back.

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