England earned an important point in World Cup qualifying with a 0-0 draw at Ukraine on Tuesday in UEFA Group H.
With the point, the Three Lions moved clear atop the Group H table, one point ahead of Ukraine and Montenegro with two matches remaining. If England win both of their remaining matches—against Montenegro and Poland—they will qualify for the World Cup.
Both will be played on home soil at Wembley in October, but Roy Hodgson's team will have to improve on Tuesday's performance in order to win both matches and secure automatic qualification. On this night, with key attacking players Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge missing out through injury, England rarely threatened.
"I don't think we were that adventurous, but on the other hand it was down to (Ukraine) to be adventurous, not us," Hodgson told TheFA.com. "We had to make certain we controlled them."
Hodgson added: "We had one or two situations and perhaps we didn't quite have enough quality to make that count."
The hosts started brightly and nearly carved out a chance in the opening minute.
Yevhen Konoplyanka, who was dangerous on Ukraine's left flank throughout the match, crossed into the middle for Roman Zozulya, who was felled by England goalkeeper Joe Hart in the box. The referee ruled for a corner, and England escaped an early penalty.
Moments later, though, England generated a few chances of their own. Captain Steven Gerrard curled a shot over the bar from long distance before Theo Walcott's poked shot was saved. Defender Gary Cahill then directed a header over the bar from a corner.
It was a frantic start, but it didn't last.
Ukraine continued to threaten on both flanks, with Artem Fedetskiy causing danger down the right. Hart, who recently made high-profile errors for club and country, looked shaky in an early exchange with Gerrard, but the pace quickly dropped for the rest of the half.
Yet as the hosts struggled to break down England's defence, the Three Lions struggled even more to hold possession.
In the first half Hodgson's team completed 77.7 percent of their passes, their worst rate in qualifying, per @OptaJoe.
In the second half, Ukraine continued to push for a winner with no success as England offered little going forward. In the 58th minute, Konoplyanka crossed for Andriy Yarmolenko, who played a no-look pass to Zozulya.
Instead of shooting, though, Zozulya attempted to return the pass to Yarmolenko and the move collapsed.
Konoplyanka saw his curled shot deflected just wide of the post in the 72nd minute. Then he picked out Fedetskiy with a corner two minutes later, only for Fedetskiy to direct his header straight at Hart.
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