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Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker and Jermain Defoe play as England draw with France in Euro 2012 opener
Tottenham’s two England players both featured as Roy Hodgson’s side got their Euro 2012 campaign off to a good start with a 1-1 draw against France.
Scott Parker personified what is fast becoming the trademark of the national side under Hodgson with a hard-working, disciplined and organised display before he was replaced by Jordan Henderson – the same time as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made way for Jermain Defoe.
Ashley Young created the chance that should have seen England take a 15th-minute lead – splitting the defence with a fine pass to release James Milner, who rounded keeper Hugo Lloris, only to hit the side netting.
But England did make the breakthrough on the half-hour when captain Steven Gerrard struck a superb free-kick from the right and Joleon Lescott got goal-side of his man to head Hodgson’s men in front.
The French arguably should have equalised six minutes later when Joe Hart made a superb reaction save to keep out Alou Diarra’s header, but the Marseille midfielder missed the target from close range after Franck Ribery had kept the ball alive.
But Laurent Blanc’s side did level three minutes later when Hart was beaten at his near post by a fine strike from Manchester City club-mate Samir Nasri, although the England keeper was possibly unsighted.
As in the first half, France asked more of the attacking questions after the break but England remained determined and resolute and the likes of Parker, Danny Welbeck and Gerrard were there when called upon to get in crucial blocks or deflections to ensure Hodgson’s troops got their Group C campaign off the mark with a good point.