England vs. France: Three Lions Perfectly Execute Game Plan in 1-1 Draw

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England vs. France: Three Lions Perfectly Execute Game Plan in 1-1 Draw
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 debut with England was a raging success. 

Sure, the Three Lions would've rather earned all three points with a win over rivals France, but the 1-1 draw was almost exactly what they game-planned for.

The English took some time to get it together offensively outside of James Milner's squandered opportunity in the early going, but that was because they sat back with nearly 10 men on defense.

It was plainly evident that Hodgson was worried about the speed in the French counter attack, so he defended against it and left the burden in the attacking third to a trio of youngsters in Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

With Wayne Rooney on the bench, Hodgson cut his losses and decided to be safe rather than sorry. There is no denying that the French were more dangerous, and even though England keeper Joe Hart was a step slow for most of the day, he kept out all but one shot.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

He should only get better.

With the likes of Karim Benzema, Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri bearing down on the defense, the English were right to play cautiously. 

The talent they had available for this game was utilized extremely well.

France, who are looking to redeem themselves after a miserable 2010 World Cup performance, should actually walk away from this game a bit disappointed. Seven of their 21 shots were on goal, they held the ball for 65-percent of the match, took 11 corner kicks, earned no yellow cards, but scored only one goal.

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In comparison, the English got off only five shots with one on net, took only four corner kicks, earned five offsides calls and two yellow cards.

Yet the only stat that matters in the end is the one point earned in the 1-1 draw.

Things will change for this squad when Wayne Rooney returns to action in the final group match, but they'll cross that bridge when they get to it.

Next for the Three Lions is a tangle with Sweden and the ever-dangerous Zlatan Ibrahimovic on June 15th.

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