Hodgson accepts lucky break
England manager admits side are still work in progress
Last Updated: June 20, 2012 11:23am
Roy Hodgson: Admitted England enjoyed a slice of good fortune against Ukraine
England manager Roy Hodgson admitted his side had a slice of fortune as they defeated Ukraine 1-0 to top Group D and set up a Euro 2012 quarter-final meeting with Italy.
Wayne Rooney made an instant impact on his return to the starting XI following suspension, nodding home the only goal of the game early in the second period after Steven Gerrard's whipped cross was missed by goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.
But Ukraine were convinced they had equalised shortly after the hour mark when Joe Hart could only partially stop Marko Devic's shot before John Terry hooked the ball clear from under his own bar.
Coach Oleg Blokhin was incensed, with replays showing the ball had cross the line, a fact which was missed by the additional official stationed just yards away at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.
Hodgson said: "This was an away game with a capital 'A': there were 60,000 people in and only 4,000 brave England fans.
"When we needed a bit of luck, when the ball may have crossed the line, we got a bit of luck and went on to win the match."
Hodgson, who had just two matches in charge before the start of the tournament, stressed his team were a work in progress.
He was, though, pleased Rooney made a goalscoring return from a two-match suspension, despite an often rusty-looking display.
"This is a fledgling team as far as I'm concerned," he admitted.
"But we're working at our game and showing composure on the ball and in attacking areas is always the most difficult part.
"That's where you need your Wayne Rooneys. This game will be good for him.
"He played well, worked hard and could have had several other goals. On the counter we were dangerous enough but we could have been more dangerous.
"They (the players) have been really good from the start. If someone said we'd win the group I don't think they'd have many takers.
"Most people didn't think we'd get out of the group. We've won it on points instead of goal difference as well."