Gerrard off but England save game
Another Frank Lampard penalty saved a point for England in a World Cup qualifier that threatened to embarrass Roy Hodgson’s team. Ukraine had held onto a first-half lead and England had squandered several chances to equalise before Lampard finally levelled the game in the 83rd minute.
It was an awkward night for England, made worse when captain Steven Gerrard picked up a second yellow card towards the end and was dismissed. He now misses England’s next qualifier, against San Marino in October.
Manager Roy Hodgson was unimpressed by a referee who disallowed a Jermain Defoe strike in the first half and was very fond of showing yellow cards. He suggested that England had improved from the side that beat Ukraine 1-0 at Euro 2012.
"We beat them then, but that was a better performance tonight than that which actually gave us a 1-0 victory over there," Hodgson argued. "You can't allow the result to cloud your judgment of the performance. We asked more questions of them tonight than we did over there, and had we lost it would have been harsh justice."
Wembley had plenty of empty seats, with England fans uninspired by a football team that has suffered by comparison with the achievements of the Olympics and Paralympics athletes. England were missing the experience of John Terry, Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney, but looked nervous and over-eager for much of the match. "I don't think you can pin it all on anxiety," Lampard said. "It is a long group and this was not an easy game, so it was good to get a point."