England made sure of their place in the UEFA Euro 2012 quarter-finals as returning striker Wayne Rooney secured victory over co-hosts Ukraine.
he Manchester United forward, who missed the first two matches of the tournament because of suspension, headed home from point-blank range three minutes into the second half to give England their second victory so far.
England winning, combined with France losing, means that Roy Hodgson’s men top Group D and will avoid world champions Spain in the last eight. They will instead take on Italy in Kiev on Sunday.
France ended up in second place after suffering a 2-0 defeat by already eliminated Sweden. The French will play Spain in Donetsk on Saturday.
Rooney’s goal, which came from a powerful Steven Gerrard centre which deflected up after squeezing under goalkeeper Anatoliy Tymoschuk, was the perfect response after a first half which Ukraine dominated for long periods.
Denys Garmash, Marko Devic, Oleg Gusev and Andriy Yarmolenko all had opportunities but perhaps the best chance of the opening half fell to Rooney, who headed wide from a fine Ashley Young cross after misjudging his jump.
The Rooney goal settled England nerves for a while but it was not the end of the drama in Donetsk.
Artem Milevskiy missed a close-range header while John Terry cleared off the line after Joe Hart’s save from Devic’s shot deflected goalwards. Television replays showed that the ball crossed the line but the goal was not awarded.
Hart then parried a swerving Yevgen Konoplianka drive and although Ukraine pressed for an equaliser, England were able to hang on.
Meanwhile in Kiev, France also made it through to the quarter-finals despite losing to Sweden.
Ola Toivonen hit the post before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored with a stunning volley on 54 minutes.
Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson made sure of the win with an emphatic volley in stoppage time.
Here are the final Group D Rankings: