- Radio Times
- Review by:
- David Butcher
As office workers head home for the 5pm kick-off, England players gather at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk, for their first match with the weight of a nation’s hopes resting, for once, very lightly on their shoulders. This time, no one expects much. If half the battle for an England coach is managing expectations, Roy Hodgson is flying.
But hang on, let’s salvage some optimism: this is a team that has qualified for the Euros with an unbeaten record! Dammit, they defeated world champions Spain last November at Wembley. And the players now speak the same language as the manager and his backroom team – that must help.
If so, the fairy tale starts here. France went 2–0 down to Iceland recently (before, ahem, salvaging a late win), but the likes of Andy Carroll will need to be on rampaging form to make up for the a – imagine – play with a hint of flair, those expectations will suddenly be off the scale again.
Ukraine v Sweden is the Group D evening match, at 7pm (kick-off 7.45pm) on BBC1.
About this programme
France v England (Kick-off 5.00pm). Adrian Chiles presents coverage of the opening clash in Group D from the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine. England last appeared at a European Championship in 2004, when they were also drawn alongside this evening's opponents in the group stage. While both teams progressed to the knockout phase, it was France who topped the table after all three matches had been played, thanks largely to their 2-1 victory over Sven-Goran Eriksson's men in the opening encounter in Lisbon. Frank Lampard's first-half header had looked to have given England all three points, but two goals by Zinedine Zidane in the closing minutes snatched a win for the French. Wayne Rooney became the second-youngest player to appear in a European Championship when selected for that match, but recently appointed manager Roy Hodgson will have to make do without his services in this clash, following the Manchester United star's red card in the final game of the qualifying stage away to Montenegro. Despite that, and the fact they have been drawn in a very competitive group, much will be expected of Hodgson's team, even though they have not reached the semi-final of a tournament since Euro 96. With commentary by Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend, and analysis by Gareth Southgate, Jamie Carragher and Patrick Vieira.
Cast and crew
- Mark Demuth