England 1-1 Russia: England denied win after late Russia goal
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 12/06/16 7:42pm
England were agonisingly denied an opening Euro 2016 victory after a last-minute Russia goal saw the Group B game finish 1-1 in Marseille on Saturday.
Roy Hodgson's men created plenty of chances throughout the contest, with Eric Dier finally making the breakthrough with a curling free kick in the 73rd minute.
England looked set to see out the match for their first ever opening-game win at a European Championship, but a goal two minutes into added time from Russia captain Vasili Berezutski salvaged a dramatic draw.
The Three Lions now return to their Chantilly base to prepare for their next Group B game against Wales on Thursday, while Russia play Slovakia on Wednesday.
The days leading up to the game had been marred by fan violence in Marseille, but on the pitch, England began well with Wayne Rooney starting in a new midfield role and Jamie Vardy and Jack Wilshere left on the bench. Adam Lallana was the first to test Igor Akinfeev, as his rasping half volley was palmed over the crossbar by the Russia stopper.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane linked up for another chance not long after as the former headed into the path of his Tottenham team-mate but Kane couldn't quite stretch to get his foot to the ball and it rolled wide.
England kept the pressure on their opponents as Chris Smalling headed the ball into the hands of Akinfeev before Russia tested Joe Hart for the first time in a similar fashion, with Sergei Ignashevich rising to head into the palms of the England goalkeeper.
Lallana once again got the better of the Russia back line as Kyle Walker sent a cross into his path from the right, but the Liverpool midfielder hit agonisingly wide before sending Raheem Sterling through on goal, but Igor Smolnikov got back to clear.
Akinfeev was kept busy throughout the opening 45 minutes, coolly punching away a thunderous volley from Rooney on the edge of the box before Kane's cross-shot rifled into his clutches.
Russia looked more composed at the start of the second half and went close in the opening 15 minutes, although it was nearly an own goal for Dier as he forced Hart to push his mis-hit clearance over the bar.
Hart was sent scrambling again as Artyom Dzyuba laid the ball off to Fyodor Smolov who sent his shot from the edge of the box just wide of the post as the Russians enjoyed their best spell of the game.
With 20 minutes to play, England were pushing for the opener as Rooney let fly from the edge of the box, but Akinfeev got down low to palm the ball onto the top of the crossbar. The rebound then fell to Lallana at the near post who also smashed the woodwork - but the offside flag was already raised.
But England made the breakthrough not long after as Kane, Rooney and Dier stood over a free kick following a foul on Alli, with the Spurs striker running over the ball and leaving it for Dier to curl over the wall and beyond the dive of Akinfeev.
Hodgson's side looked set to hold on for a deserved win, but the jubilation in the England camp turned to despair in the second minute of added-on time.
After a corner had been cleared, captain Berezutski got above Danny Rose to loop a header towards goal, and despite Denis Gluskakov getting a touch, the ball had already crossed the line.
It was a cruel blow for England who had dominated much of the match and must now turn their focus to Thursday's clash with group leaders Wales.
England: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Rose, Alli, Dier, Rooney, Sterling, Kane, Lallana.
Subs used: Wilshere, Milner.
Russia: Akinfeev, Smolnikov, V.Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov, Neustadter, Golovin, Kokorin, Shatov, Smolov, Dzyuba.
Subs: Glushakov, Mamaev, Shirokov.
Man of the match: Wayne Rooney