England opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a battling draw against a dominant French side.
Lescott opened the scoring with a header from Gerrard’s free kick but France drew level before the break thanks to Samir Nasri’s 20 yard strike.
England’s game plan was simple, sit back, soak up the pressure and hit France on the break, but England were wasteful and found it difficult maintaining possession.
Two solid banks of four were deployed in order to keep France’s creative talents at bay. And for the majority of the game it worked as Ribery, Benzema and Nasri were frustrated as England showed discipline and warrior like defending.
The French dominated early on but were restricted to trying their luck from range as Samir Nasri struck the side netting from 20 yards.
Ashley Young released James Milner, whose perfectly timed run evaded the two French central defenders. The Manchester City striker then had the composure to round goalkeeper Hugo Lloris but lacked composure as he failed to hit the target from an acute angle, when he should really have scored.
France continued to dominate, but to no real effect as England took the lead against the run of play. Steven Gerrard’s pinpoint free kick found Lescott at the back post and the Manchester City striker headed home to give England the lead, as Diarra failed to track Lescott’s run paying the ultimate price.
Diarra came close to making amends for his mistake in England’s goal as the midfielder forced Joe Hart into an acrobatic save with a powerful header.
France continued to press and they eventually found an equaliser as England failed to clear their lines. Samir Nasri’s low strike from 20 yards found its way past Joe Hart to give France a deserved equaliser.
After the break Les Bleus continued to dominate as England looked happy to park the bus. Benzema sprung in to life as he tested Hart from distance with a fierce strike before forcing Glen Johnson into a vital interception as he burst into the English box.
Yohan Cabaye volleyed towards goal, but Danny Welbeck diverted the ball wide much to the relief of Joe Hart. France continued to dominate but failed to find a way past a solid England back four.
As the clock ticked down England remained organised and disciplined as they held on to take a share of the points. Despite offering little in the final third, England showed great resilience and thoroughly deserved the point. Roy Hodgson will be hoping to build on this result as the Three Lions face Sweden and Ukraine in their remaining group games.