England Tops Ukraine, Wins Group D Amid Missed Goal-Line Call, John Terry Save

Adam HirshfieldFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2012

England escaped Tuesday’s Group D finale at Euro 2012 with a 1-0 victory over co-host Ukraine. But the Three Lions’ triumph—which clinched their spot atop the group and a quarterfinal matchup against Italy on Sunday—was marred by a questionable goal-line call that, according to replays, should have resulted in a Ukraine goal.

After England went up 1-0 on a goal by returning striker Wayne Rooney in the 48th minute, the co-hosts put the pressure on.

In the 62nd minute, Marko Devic was sent through into space at the top of the England penalty area. He deked past central defender John Terry and sent a shot at goal. The shot was deflected by goalkeeper Joe Hart, but not enough, and the ball still trickled slowly toward the waiting twine. Terry raced back after the ball and toward the goal, and the embattled Chelsea man brilliantly managed to clear the ball just as it appeared to cross the line.

“No goal,” said the linesman, who was in perfect position on the end line to see the play.

Or was he?

According to slow-motion replays shown on ESPN and around the world, the full ball appeared to cross the goal line before Terry’s clearance.

After the bang-bang play, several Ukrainian players raised their hands in celebration—or, perhaps, speculation that it may have been a goal—yet play continued and England counter-attacked toward the other side of the field.

England went on to win the match, clinching first place in the group thanks to France's 2-0 loss at the hands of Sweden. England will face Group C second-place finisher Italy, while France will face Spain in another quarterfinal on Saturday.

But the controversial goal-line call was the talk of the footballing world after the match.

Was it the wrong call? Apparently.

Would the play have changed the match (and potentially the entire tournament)? Obviously.

Is it time for goal-line technology? Many would argue that, yes, this kind of advancement would eliminate human error from the equation and ensure that the correct calls were made.

And it is on the way. It’s just a matter of time.

Look, it's hard being a soccer referee, knowing you could be replaced by a lawn mower with an iPhone taped to it.

— sir broosk (@celebrityhottub) June 19, 2012

There will surely be more made of this missed goal call, but it appears that the technology hasn’t come soon enough for Ukraine at Euro 2012.