England scraped through to the Euro 2012 quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over co-hosts Ukraine courtesy of a Wayne Rooney header and a questionable decision to disallow a goal for Ukraine.
Italy await Roy Hodgson’s men in the quarterfinals because Sweden’s 2-0 win over France means that England win the group.
Despite preserving an unbeaten record in the group stage of a European Championships for the first time since 1996, England spent much of the match on the back foot, just as in their 1-1 draw with France and 3-2 win over Sweden.
Rooney, returning from a two-game ban, put England ahead just after the break when Steven Gerrard’s deflected cross deceived Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov, allowing Rooney to nod in from point-blank range for his 30th England goal.
Ukraine’s Marko Devic saw his shot cross the line on 62 minutes but it was not counted as the referee decided it had not crossed the line, despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Ukraine were unbowed, however, and pushed for the win they needed to see them through as coach Oleg Blokhin threw on three attacking substitutes.
It was not to be for Ukraine, and they exited their home tournament from third place in the group.
England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole, James Milner (Theo Walcott 70), Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker, Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck.
Ukraine: Andriy Pyatov, Yevhen Selin, Yevhen Khacheridi, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Anatoly Tymoshchuk, Denys Garmash (Serhiy Nazarenko 78), Oleh Gusev, Andriy Yarmolenko, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Artem Milevskiy (Bohdan Butko 78), Marko Devic (Andriy Shevchenko 70).