England salvage draw against Ukraine in Euro '24 qualifier

England fought back to salvage a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine on Saturday to stay six points clear atop Group C after Kyle Walker scored from a sublime pass by Harry Kane for his first international goal.

England dominated possession but Ukraine opened the scoring against the run of play in the 26th minute through Oleksandr Zinchenko after Yukhym Konoplia cut back a pass from the right for the midfielder to sidefoot past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

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"I think it's an amazing result for us," Zinchenko said. "England are one of the best teams in the world and in general we did very well."

Ukraine have not played at home since Russia launched an invasion of the country in February 2022, and the crowd noise inside Tarczynski Arena in Poland was deafening at times.

Gareth Southgate's side levelled close to the break after skipper Kane gathered the ball in midfield and superbly picked out Walker who neatly controlled the ball and slotted home with a composed finish for his first England goal.

Walker bemoaned his side's missed chances but said getting a draw on the road marked a good return for a side that had 11 attempts compared to two for Ukraine.

"It's a point away from home and we're in a good position in the group and it was always going to be tough as they're a proud nation," he told Channel 4 television.

"I thought we lacked a bit of cutting edge tonight but sometimes you have to take a point an move on."

Added Kane: "A little bit disappointed for sure. We controlled the game but just lacked a bit in the final third. We didn't quite have those fast connections. When you are not at your best and still get a point it is the sign of a good team. It is not the end of the world."

England played more directly after the break and started creating more opportunities, including a Bukayo Saka shot that bounced off the bar.

With about 25 minutes left, Southgate replaced James Maddison and Jude Bellingham with Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford but neither substitute was able to lift England past a resolute Ukraine who played higher up the pitch after half-time.

"The reality is we are not going to win every game by fours and sevens as we have done in this qualifying campaign." Southgate said. "That was a really good test, away from home, a very passionate atmosphere, quite a few changes forced from the last game. And for people like Marc Guehi for instance, his first experience of a game like that with England, which he came through really strongly.

"Sometimes, especially with attacking play, it doesn't quite click. We know the patterns that we worked on during the week. We tried to refresh things to give them a different sort of problem.

"Today our forward play bar the goal and probably Bukayo's effort that hit the bar, wasn't at the level it has been in our previous games."

England, who conceded just their second goal in qualifying, are top with 13 points from five games followed by Ukraine on seven from four. The draw against Ukraine marked the first time England have dropped points in the qualifying campaign.