World Cup - England move step closer to Brazil with draw in Kiev

World Cup qualifying Group H, Olympic Stadium, Kiev - Ukraine 0 England 0

Eurosport
World Cup - England move step closer to Brazil with draw in Kiev
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England remain top of Group H with two games remaining after earning a 0-0 draw with Ukraine from a turgid World Cup qualifier in Kiev.

Chances were at a premium for both sides, but that suited Roy Hodgson's side in their final away match of this section after thwarting the home side's advances with a solid defensive effort.

England are one point clear of Montenegro on 16 and two ahead of Poland, but remain without a win against their three closest rivals in the section from eight matches.

England know home wins over Montenegro on October 11 and Poland four days later at Wembley will be enough to see them through to next summer's finals in Brazil as group winners.

They might well have stolen three points at the end when Frank Lampard - winning a 100th cap for his country - nodded wide in injury time from a long Kyle Walker throw-in.

But Artem Fedetskyy also blew a golden chance when he failed to connect with a free header five yards out from a corner with 20 minutes remaining as Joe Hart gratefully scooped up the loose ball.

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Hart also seemed to fell Roman Zozulya in the opening seconds. The referee strangely awarded a corner rather than a penalty, but England were good value for their draw.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gary Cahill (Chelsea): An outstanding performance from the defender in what was a night for big hearts in a stout defensive effort.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: MILNER STARTS - England with one change from the side that thumped Moldova 4-0 on Friday as James Milner starts in place of the injured Danny Welbeck. Rickie Lambert earns his third cap up front bidding for a third straight goal after netting against Scotland and Moldova. He leads the line on his own with Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere selected to offer him as much support as possible from slightly deep.

2' UKRAINE PENALTY CLAIM - Ukraine are denied a clear-cut penalty. Joe Hart late on Roman Zozulya, but the referee gives a corner. Hart punches the corner away. England so fortunate.

5' WALCOTT THREAT - Brilliant run by Theo Walcott. He bounds into the Ukraine box, but goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is off his line to make a brave stop.

58' GERRARD TO THE RESCUE - Loose ball bouncing around that England box, but Gerrard is quickly back to clear the danger. Andriy Yarmolenko doing well with an intelligent flick.

73' BEST CHANCE OF NIGHT - Artem Fedetskyy with a golden chance, but can't connect with the free header in the England box. Easy for Hart in the end. A major scare.

90+1' LAMPARD CHANCE - Frank Lampard nods inches wide of goal from the Kyle Walker long throw-in. What a chance that was to finish off matters in some style.

TALKING POINT

Will England reach the finals? This was not the greatest of performances, but England got what they came for. With two matches against Montenegro and Poland to conclude the campaign, you must fancy Roy Hodgson's side to qualify as Group H winners. If Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are available, all the better for their hopes.

KEY STATS

England have only beaten two teams in World Cup 2014 qualifying so far; Moldova and San Marino.

England completed 77.7% of their passes in the first half; their lowest accuracy of the qualifying campaign.

Ukraine failed to manage a shot on target against England during the first half.

England have found the net in 15 of their last 17 competitive away games, with the blank coming against Ukraine (0-1) and this match.

Centurion Frank Lampard became the eighth player to win 100 caps for England.

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Opta

PLAYER RATINGS

Ukraine: Pyatov 6, Fedetskiy 6, Khacheridi 7, Kucher 6, Shevchuk 6, Stepanenko 7, Edmar 6, Gusev 5, Yarmolenko 6, Konoplianka 7, Zozulya 6...subs: Seleznyov 7, Khomchenovskiy 6, Bezus 6

England: Hart 7, Walker 6, Cahill 8, Jagielka 8, Cole 7, Lampard 7, Gerrard 7, Wilshere 6, Walcott 6, Lambert 6, Milner 6...subs: Cleverley 7, Young 6

MATCH IN A TWEET

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