Euro 2016 round up: England 1 Russia 1 - and what the result means

Jack Wilshere (right) of England in action against Vasili Berezutski of Russia during the Uefa Euro 2016 match between England and Russia.
Jack Wilshere (right) of England in action against Vasili Berezutski of Russia during the Uefa Euro 2016 match between England and Russia.PHOTO: EPA

A new major tournament, a new England, another winless start.

The difference, however, is that the traditionally slow starters cannot be accused of starting this Group B opener slowly.

England played at a high-tempo from the opening whistle, with both full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker bombing forward at every opportunity.

Roy Hodgson deployed Wayne Rooney in midfield for the first time in the Manchester United man's 112-cap England career. And the England skipper excelled from a deep-lying position in a 4-3-3 system before making way for Jack Wilshere in the 77th minute.

By then, England had their breakthrough and it was no more than they deserved. Eric Dier's 73rd-minute free kick finally saw Igor Akinfeev beaten on a busy night for the Russia goalkeeper at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

But a lack of concentration in stoppage time meant England have yet to win an opening match at the European Championship at their ninth attempt. In the 91st minute, Goergi Schennikov floated a ball into the box. Russia captain Vasili Berezutski rose above Rose and looped a header over England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Match highlights

- Rooney started a move and it ended with Adam Lallana forcing Akinfeev into a save in the seventh minute.

- Walker rampaged forward again in the 22nd minute. He found Lallana in the box but the Liverpool man dragged his shot wide.

- Rooney, from deep, threaded the ball in behind the Russian defence in the 33rd minute. But Dele Alli can only win a corner.

- Alli and Rooney reversed roles two minutes later. The Tottenman Hotspur man evaded two defenders before crossing for Rooney, who made Akinfeev work.

- Russia created their best chance after 63 minutes. Oleg Shatov curled a shot from 25 yards out and the ball went just wide of the post. Hart was at full stretch.

- Rose's cross took a deflection and fell kindly for Rooney, whose low shot drew an instinctive save from Akinfeev. The goalkeeper deflected the ball on to the bar.

- Alli was fouled on the edge of the box by Schennikov. Eric Dier stepped up and unleashed a free kick into the top left-hand corner.

- Berezutski looped a header past Hart in stoppage time.

The talking point

Will Hodgson keep faith in this starting XI? The England manager did not get a result but he got a performance. He had been searching for balance and a formation that could bring out the best in his star players, and it looks like he has one. While it meant that there was no starting place for Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, England offered a lot going forward. Hodgson can take plenty of positives but will he tinker with his selection again?

Also, why was Harry Kane taking corners? He botched numerous attempts, and the Premier League's top scorer, with 25 goals for Tottenham last season, would have been better served attacking a delivery.

Man of the Match

Dier. He won all his tackles, scoreda beautiful goal, and completed 89 per cent of his passes.

What the result means

The Battle of Britain just got bigger. Already a contest that will be filled with pride and passion, the stakes - and the pressure - have gotten that much higher for England. With Wales winning their opening match, England will be the more desperate side to get a result on Thursday. England's Achilles heel is their defence and could be susceptible to Wales' counter-attacks as they go in search of goals.

England have only made it past the group stages half of the time when they drew a European Championship opener. The Three Lions were sent packing prematurely in 1980 and 1992 following stalemates against Belgium and Denmark. But they have overcome slow starts before - progressing to the knockout stages in 1996 and 2012 despite draws with Switzerland and France.

Key statistic

England had nine shots in the opening period - their most in the first half at the European Championship since 2004.

What they said

Dier: "We're very disappointed. We played well the whole game and then to give away the draw like that at the end is very disappointing. It's not inexperience we didn't see it out in the right way. We didn't lose. We have to pick ourselves up again and go again."

Hodgson: "When you dominate the game as much as we did, then when you concede it it will feel like a defeat."