England hold France, Ukraine win at Euro 2012

Experimental England held in-form France to a 1-1 draw on Monday as Roy Hodgson's patchwork side showed they have every intention of making an impact at Euro 2012, while co-hosts Ukraine thanked two goals from veteran Andriy Shevchenko as they edged Sweden 2-1.

Joleon Lescott's header drew first blood for England before his Manchester City teammate Samir Nasri thundered an equaliser past another club colleague, England keeper Joe Hart.

Group D now looks wide open after England kept pace with the stylish French, unbeaten in 22 games, in sultry conditions at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

Hodgson, brought in to replace Fabio Capello barely a month before the event, saw the result as a point won - even though they could only hold the lead for nine minutes after Lescott's opener.

"I think we played well as we played against a tough team," said Hodgson.

"We were very disciplined and to finish 1-1 and ask the questions of them we did we've got to be happy.

French coach Laurent Blanc said the result was a fair one.

"We're not entirely thrilled, but we're not entirely disappointed either," Blanc said.

"We could have lost this game had we not reacted (after England scored), so that's one of the positives. But I think if you look at the game, the side that played the most football was France."

A bright point for England was a strong showing by 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a surprise starter on the left side of midfield ahead of Stewart Downing.

With a useful point under their belts England next face Sweden in Kiev on Friday while France take on Ukraine in Donetsk.

The mood in those respective camps will be markedly different after Ukraine came from behind to score a 2-1 success over Sweden where a former and a current AC Milan star hogged the headlines.

Current San Siro favourite Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the Swedes ahead seven minutes after the break following a tense opening period after Andriy Yarmolenko failed to cut out Sebastian Larsson's cross. Kim Kallstrom squared for Ibrahimovic and the Milan forward scored from close range.

Then former Milan superstar Shevchenko, given a vote of confidence by coach and fellow former European Player of the Year Oleg Blokhin, turned the match on its head with two headers which belied the fact the 35-year-old Ukraine captain had missed more than half the season through injury.

He headed in the equaliser three minutes after Ibrahimovic's goal and then made it 48 goals in 108 international appearances with the winner on 62 minutes.

First, he beat marker Olof Mellberg to head powerfully home and then outjumped Ibrahimovic to head in at the near post following a Oleg Gusev corner.

Shevchenko immediately raced down the touchline to embrace Blokhin.

The Swedes should have levelled at the death as Ibrahimovic flicked on for Johan Elmander, but the former Bolton man just returning from injury flashed his shot off target.

Afterwards Shevchenko was ecstatic.

"I feel great - it was an historic game for us, it's a great victory.

"I feel like 20 years, not 35!"

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