Joleon Lescott
Lescott put England ahead.

18:55: England snatch a draw from one of the pre-tournament favourites France in a game which leaves Group D wide open. The French dominated possession for long periods but couldn't find a way through a resolute England defence. Both sides will feel good about their chances of progression with games against Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine to come, however one of those sides could take a stranglehold of the group with a win later tonight.

I hope you've enjoyed Ibtimes UK's live coverage of England's opening group game. That queasy feeling you've had for the last hour and a half? That's what it's like watching England. Enjoy it? Join me again on Friday when England face Sweden. Until then, goodbye.

Full time: France 1-1 England

90 mins: It comes to nothing and we're into three minutes of stoppage time in Donetsk. Theo Walcott is England's final substitute as he replaces Danny Welbeck. Benzema's rasping shot is comfortably saved by Hart.

89 mins: England come close to snatching it at the death as Milner's cross is cut out at the near post and is behind for a corner. Gerrard to take.....

86 mins: England are penned in, but France appear too narrow and are unwilling to spread the ball wide until Ben Arfa finds the ball at his feet, but his tricky footwork is easily read by Gerrard and England breath again.

86 mins: It's all France in the closing minutes. Steven Gerrard heads over from Benzema's goal bound shot. England close to an important point here.

85 mins: Hatem Ben Arfa and Marvin Martin come on for Yohan Cabaye and Florent Malouda. Both will look to take advantage of tired England legs.

81 mins: Fresh legs England might have, but France are still on top. Debuchy's shot is deflected wide for a corner, before Cabaye, who has been among the game's best players, shoots wide also.

77 mins: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is replaced by Jermain Defoe, and Jordan Henderson comes on for Scott Parker. Meanwhile, referee Nicola Rizzoli, while he is allowed the game to flow, is begining to frustrate England as he continues to overlook a number of incidents. France still unchanged.

74 mins: England wantto make changes but neither side want to put the ball out. Appears Jermain Defoe is being readied. Hodgson's side look tired

69 mins: France again look threatening in and around the edge of the England penalty area, and after Ribery tests Johnson, the ball breaks for Florent Malouda, whose rifled shot is blocked heroically by Scott Parker.

67 mins: England will probably be content to keep things like they are, but with a third of the game left, will Laurent Blanc be thinking of changes? Winger Jeremy Menez is probably the most likely introduction with Samir Nasri struggling.

65 mins: The way the game is going you fancy the next goal probably wins it even with 25 minutes remaining, such is the tight nature of it, and Benzema tries to put France ahead from 25 yards, but Hart gets down low to keep it out.

64 mins: England almost get a break as Ribery goes down injured, but James Milner refuses to kick the ball out. Milner wins a corner but after John Terry rose to meet the resulting set-piece, France comfortably clear.

59 mins: Both sides are enjoyed spells on top with nearly an hour played. Evra's pull-back is smashed clear before Milner's cross at the other end is over-hit. Johnson is unlucky not to win a free-kick after a clash with Ribery, whose influence has wavered throughout.

54 mins: England enjoy their best spell of possession, which almost sees Glen Johnson released down the right following Gerrard's cross-field pass, prior to the skipper looking for a free-kick after being felled by Debuchy. Mexican waves appear to have started. An insult to an intriguing game.

52 mins: In the midst of that England foray in the France half, Joe Hart almost ran into trouble following a slack back-pass, only for the 25-year-old to get lucky as the ball bounced off Samir Nasri and to safety.

50 mins: Milner given all the time in the world to find a cross which is cut out by Mexes at the near post. Gerrard's corner is straight into the arms of Lloris however.

47 mins: Ribery nearly gets away on the left-hand side but the ball skips away from him allowing Terry to clear. France monopolising possession at the start of the second period.

18:02: We're away again in Donetsk. No changes at half time.

18:01: Some first half stats to chew over: England - possession 42%, 171 passes completed (72%). France - possession 58%, 299 passes completed (81%)

18:00: The impact of both sides' full-back paints an accurate picture of way the game has flowed, with Mathieu Debuchy and Patrice Evra regularly getting forward, while Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole have been anonymous in an attacking sense. Second half not far away.

17:50: It was all going so well wasn't it? Joleon Lescott headed England ahead after a tense opening to the game, but the goal sparked France into action, and after Hart brilliantly kept out Alou Diarra's header, Samir Nasri expertly slotted past Joe Hart. Set up nicely for the second half don't you think?

Half-time: France 1-1 England

45 mins: Joe Hart blocks from Benzema's tight effort, which goes out for a corner, which eventually England clear. Hodgson will be concerned with how England have fallen away since they went ahead.

43 mins: France ending the half in the ascendency, praying on England errors in possession. However, they can't manufacture an effort on goal, as Debuchy crosses into an unmanned penalty area.

39 mins: No doubt France have control of the game, and another sustained period of possession helps hand them a deserved equaliser. Ribery sets up Samir Nasri on the edge of the area, who has time to look up and pick his spot from 20 yards to beat club teammate Hart at his near post. He'll be disappointed with that will Hart.

GOAL: France 1-1 England (Samir Nasri)

35 mins: Having said that, France almost bite back immediately from a set-piece of their own as Diarra first heads straight at Hart, before Ribery's header back in gives the Marseille man another chance, which he flicks wide. The closest France have come in the first half.

34 mins: It's been a tight game up until now, but England, who have looked organised throughout, expose France's own organisation from a set-piece. It's got Hodgson written all over.

30 mins:Patrice Evra gives away a needless free-kick wide on the right-hand side and Steven Gerrard stands over it. After numerous delays, Gerrard swings it in for Joleon Lescott to head home from three yards out. Appalling marking from Blanc's men.

GOAL: France 0-1 England (Joleon Lescott)

28 mins: Welbeck almost gets away from France's weak link at the back; Philippe Mexes, but the Milan defender nicks the ball away. At the other end, Hart keeps out Debuchy's shot, but the effort from a tight angle was never troubling the Manchester City stopper.

27 mins: England worryingly wasteful with the ball inside their own half, and France, in the Donetsk heat, are hardly pressing high up the pitch either.

24 mins: Welbeck looks ok to continue. An innocuous stamp from Adil Rami I should say. France back on the attack upon the resumption, with a wall of England defenders preventing Nasri from getting a shot away.

22 mins: Worry for England. Danny Welbeck does down after Rami stamps on his standing left foot. Looked nasty for the Manchester United striker.

18 mins: Another example of Chamberlain's pace. The 18-year-old skips away from two French players before sliding the ball through towards Young who is flagged offside. England coming into the contest after a nervy start.

15 mins: England have a reputation for early goals in major finals, and they almost continued that trend in Donetsk. Ashley Young finds space off the front, and slides the ball through to James Milner who rounds Hugo Lloris, but can only shoot wide from a tight angle. Tempted to say he should have scored.

14 mins: Ribery causing problems on the left-hand side this time, weaving in and out of Cole, but his pull back can't yield an effort on goal from Nasri.

12 mins: Glen Johnson is caught ahead of the ball, as Franck Ribery is played through by Cabaye. The Liverpool defender puts the ball out for a corner, but England are put on the back foot again as Hart uncharacteristically drops the resulting dead-ball. The ball is eventually cleared, but back come France and Nasri, who continues to get free of Scott Parker, shoots wide from 20 yards.

8 mins: Ashley Cole is harshly penalised for a foul, on Nasri, wide on the left touch line. The subsequent free-kick is clearly by Terry, before Benzema's ball back in is claimed by Joe Hart. The French coming into the contest as an attacking force.

6 mins: France are known for being patient with the ball and their first spell of possession yields a chance as Nasri almost plays in Benzema only for England to scramble the ball away for a corner. England easily clear the set-piece.

3 mins: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dispossesses Debuchy on the left but can't find Welbeck in the penalty area.

2 mins: Every player getting a touch for England early on until Steven Gerrard passes the ball out of play. Danny Welbeck gets clear on the right, and is marginally offside. France barely had a touch thus far.

We're underway in Donetsk.

16:57: For a game that UEFA told us would be a sell-out, plenty of empty seats around the ground. Both teams are out, anthems being belted out as we speak.

16:53: Expect France to line-up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Cabaye, Diarra and Malouda patrolling the midfield, while Ribery, Benzema and Samir Nasri are given license to cause havoc in the attacking third.

Take your pick with how England may set themselves up. Without the ball expect Scott Parker, James Milner and Steven Gerrard to tuck in to prevent England becoming outnumbered in midfield, while Ashley Young will slot in behind Welbeck. Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was playing League One football 13 months ago, will be given license to roam.

History lesson number two while we wait for the two teams: The sides have met four times in major finals, with England having won twice in 1966 and 1982, however France's solitary win came in the pair's last meeting at Euro 2004. Zinedine Zidane's late salvo won it that day.

16:45: The eagle eyed among you will have noticed that Hodgson, known for his conservative tactics, has opted to hand Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain his first competitive start in England's attack, while Danny Welbeck starts ahead of Andy Carroll.

Meanwhile, Yann M'Vila, after his ankle injury in the warm-up win over Serbia, misses out as Alou Diarra starts alongside Yohan Cabaye in midfield. The only other selection dilemma for Laurent Blanc was in defence where AC Milan's Philippe Mexes is preferred to Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny.


France: Lloris (C); Debuchy, Rami, Mexès, Evra; Cabaye, Diarra, Malouda; Ribéry, Nasri, Benzema

England: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner, Parker, Gerrard (C), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Young, Welbeck

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli

16:35: Roy Hodgson faces a baptism of fire in his first competitive game as England manager. With a host of off the field controversies, including the non-selection of Rio Ferdinand, and injuries to the likes of Frank Lampard, to deal with, Hodgson has enjoyed little preparation time ahead of the finals following his appointment in June.

Laurent Blanc has enjoyed a much calmer warm-up to the finals. Unbeaten in 21 matches since the debacle that accompanied the World Cup in South Africa, Blanc has revitalised the French, emerging as late contenders for the crown. Without Platini or Zidane tonight, expect the onus to be on Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery for inspiration.

16:30: Welcome to live coverage of England's opening group game of Euro 2012 against France.

After three exhilarating days at the start of the European Championship, it's now the turn of Group D to take centre stage. While England have never won an opening match in European Championship history, France have never won a game in the tournament without Michel Platini or Zinedine Zidane in their ranks. The draw sure thing? Absolutely not