England vs. Ukraine: Ukrainians Put Damper on Great Britain's Olympics Success

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 11, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11:  Steven Gerrard of England is sent off by match referee Cuneyt Cakir during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group H qualifying match between England and Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on September 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

After England's football team advanced to the quarterfinals of the Summer Games for the first time since 1956 and scored its first goal in Olympics competition since 1960, the British battled to a disappointing 1-1 draw against Ukraine in the 2014 World Cup qualifying play on Tuesday.

The draw leaves doubt among the British with four qualifying games left, but it could have been much worse.

Ukraine was leading, 1-0, up until the 87th minute, when Yevhen Khacheridi was whistled for handball, allowing Frank Lampard to score from the penalty spot as the match came to a close.

There are two ways for England to take the match: The side battled back to escape with a draw, or it didn't do enough to win the game against a team ranked No. 39 in the world.

I'm going with the latter.

England was ranked No. 3 in the FIFA rankings coming into this match, but was dead equal with Ukraine in time of possession and allowed far too many chances in the early going. 

Joe Hart was beaten by Oleg Gusev early on, but a deflection by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nicked the post. 

Then, Hart and Steven Gerrard had to save the day with a series of interceptions after Tom Cleverley not-so-cleverly lost possession at the halfway line.

Ukraine lost its beat in the second half, but England's first-half performance was mediocre and should have never happened; it could have lost the British the match.

There's still time for England to turn it around moving forward, but the British better hope that this was simply a wake-up call and not a sign of things to come.


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