Euro 2012 Sportsday - breaking sports news

Build-up to England's opening Euro 2012 game against France in Donetsk, Q&A with John Motson, plus more

11 June 2012 Last updated at 15:36

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As it happened

  1. 1535: 
    EURO 2012

    Today's Sportsday Live is coming to a close as Tom Rostance begins the live text commentary build-up to England v France. Just time to end though with the words of former England skipper Alan Shearer, talking on BBC Radio 5 live: "These are the worst times I felt as a player. You want to fast forward the last two or three hours and get out there and get a feel for the ball and the pitch." Enjoy the game. We will be back at 08:00 BST on Tuesday with all the reaction to the result.


    Thanks to BBC football commentator John Motson for answering your questions. Here's a final one for today:

    Q. Jonathan Jenkins on Twitter: Do you wish the Euros were played in the winter so you could wear your sheepskin coat?

    A. It's safely packed away for next season. It's an important piece of kit to keep me warm at these cold Premier League grounds. I certainly wouldn't need it for Qatar when the World Cup goes there. One of the nice things about summer tournaments is you can sit in your shirt sleeves and enjoy the football. It's very different to what I do for most of the domestic season at home.

  3. 1529: 
    EURO 2012

    From BBC Sport's David Bond in Ukraine: "The British Foreign Office is estimating that around 3,500 England fans are attending the France Euro 2012 match from the UK. British police on the ground here in Donetsk are advising that significant numbers of foreign nationals - mostly Ukrainian and Russian - are attending the game wearing England colours."

  4. 1527: 

    There will be no play at Queen's Club before 17:00 BST. Persistent rain in west London is preventing the start of the annual pre-Wimbledon grass tournament.

  5. 1526: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC football expert Mark Lawrenson on BBC Radio 5 live: "Roy Hodgson has obviously seen something in the French team he thinks Oxlade-Chamberlain can exploit. If you are good enough, you are old enough."

  6. 1524: 

    Julian Betts on Twitter: "So with only 16 appearances and 2 goals the Ox is our new saviour and hope - kind of sums it all really - desperate."

    Steven Marshall on Twitter: "If the Ox can open up AC Milan like he did at the emirates, he can certainly do it against this French back 4!"

    Areen Voskanian on Twitter: "England will get a result today! Would prefer Carroll to start though as we need some hold up play."

  7. 1521: 
    EURO 2012

    The build-up to this evening's game is not all about England though. Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye has been telling BBC Sport about how Laurent Blanc has rebuilt a French side following their awful showing at the 2010 World Cup.


    Q. Shivam on Twitter: Who is the best footballer you have ever seen play at the Euros?

    A. There are too many European players to mention, but in my commentating years, I would say Paul Gascoigne is the best English player I have ever seen. Gazza had more natural ability than any other English player. I would put him ahead of David Beckham in terms of his all-round game. I wasn't really around in the job for the likes of Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore.

  9. 1512: 

    In case any of you were wondering how England have been getting on in the Third Test against West Indies at Edgbaston... the match has ended in a draw after rain forced the fifth and final day to be abandoned with no play possible. England win the series 2-0.

  10. 1512: 
    EURO 2012

    Former England manager Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 live: "In all respects there has to be that confidence about the manager, there are 23 [pairs of] eyes on you. Your body language is very important - it is not just what you say - you are almost talking to the players all the time without verbally saying anything. I have never known such low expectancy at a tournament - let's hope that can be turned into a plus."

  11. 1507: 
    EURO 2012

    Tottenham's French striker Louis Saha on Twitter: "I fancy France but Danny Welbeck is the type of player who can hurt us big time. Can't wait."


    Q. Liam Tootill on Twitter: What do you think was England's best chance of winning an international competition since 1966?

    A. Two occasions stick out - in 1990 and 1996. At Italia 90 when they got to the World Cup semi-finals in Turin and Waddle and Pearce missed the penalties. I think if they had beaten the Germans, they would have beaten a weakened Argentina in the final. That was a very near miss. And again losing on penalties in the semi-finals of Euro 96. Had England won that match, I think they would have beaten the Czech Republic at Wembley.

  13. 1504: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Just parted with 20 Zlotys on the English media sweepstake. 1-0 win. Gerrard. 32 minutes - and I never get these things wrong."

  14. 1502: 

    Keith Crooks on Twitter: "Finally a boss who picks the team on form. It's what we've all been asking for so need to back Roy's Ox decision win or loose!"

    Barney Tabasco on Twitter: "England team looks completely, positively different when swapping Downing for Ox. Hope that's not an illusion!"

    Jeremy Milway on Twitter: "What is all this hype with "the ox" 2 goals and 1 assist in the league last season anyone would think he was Messi!" #bbcfootball

  15. 1453: 
    EURO 2012

    Former England striker Paul Mariner, now head coach of Toronto FC, on BBC Radio 5 live: "I'm pleased about Oxlade-Chamberlain. I think the way Roy has gone about things has been fantastic.

    "It's not a surprise to me that Welbeck has got the nod ahead of Carroll because of his pace and willingness to harry defenders."

  16. 1450: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport's Richard Conway: "When asked by BBC Sport if Mario Balotelli was racially abused during their game against Spain, Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli said: "It did not happen." When asked again to confirm if there was an incident he replied: "Absolutely not."


    Q. Paul Thompson on Twitter: Do you think Spain and Italy will get through their group after the first round of fixtures?

    A. Spain and Italy must be favourites to go through. They were pretty well matched and are capable of beating Croatia and the Republic of Ireland. It would be a big surprise if one of the other two went through. The Irish have it very tough now, having lost that opening game to Croatia, and with Spain and Italy to come - it would be most unexpected if they were to qualify.

  18. 1448: 
    EURO 2012

    Football pundit Lee Dixon on BBC Radio 5 live: "Steven Gerrard is the catalyst for England. I would like to see him getting him on the ball in an area he can impact the game, instead of hitting 40-yard passes I would like to see him playing more from 20, further up the field."

  19. 1446: 
    EURO 2012

    A little over two hours to kick-off in Donetsk, plenty of time then to raise the excitement levels and remind yourselves of an English victory over France. Bryan Robson scores inside the opening 30 seconds as England win their 1982 World Cup encounter 3-1.

  20. 1438: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty: "Roy Hodgson's decision to include Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in England's line-up against France has caused a real stir here in the Donbass Arena - and has been almost unanimously well-received. Stewart Downing's recent performances for club and country have been indifferent. Donetsk is basking in baking heat so this will be a real test of endurance for players from both sides. And thousands of fans are enjoying the conditions around the stadium.

  21. 1436: 
    EURO 2012

    Roy Hodgson believes Euro 2012 could be "the most terrific three weeks or the most torrid of my career" as he prepares to lead England into their opening Euro 2012 game against France on Monday.


    Q. Pete Robertson on Twitter: Did Spain get it wrong by not playing a recognised striker against Italy?

    A. They created enough chances to have won the game. They do have an intricate passing game and it depends very much on putting the final ball through and having a cutting edge. Even when Fernando Torres came on, he missed two very presentable chances. So maybe if they played a striker from the start, it wouldn't have been any better. They are blessed with so many good flexible midfielders, they can play six of those. I don't think the team we saw in Spain's opening match is necessarily the one that will play throughout the tournament.

  23. 1428: 
    EURO 2012

    Senior football reporter Ian Dennis on BBC Radio 5 live: "I think we all thought Roy Hodgson with his pragmatic approach and conservative nature. It is really refreshing he is plumping for Oxlade-Chamberlain. He only made his first start last weekend against Belgian. It is a sign of extent that Hodgson isn't just here to park the bus against the French."

  24. 1426: 

    Senior football reporter Ian Dennis on BBC Radio 5 live: "The team won't be confirmed until an hour before kick-off but this will be the England team which starts here at Euro 2012: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole, James Milner, Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck."

  25. 1424: 

    There will be no play before 15:30 BST at Queen's Club. The final matches on Centre and Court One - James Ward v Kevin Anderson an Sam Querrey v Olivier Rochus - have been postponed, as have the doubles matches on Centre, Court One and Court Two. Further updates as and when we get them.

  26. 1423: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport commentator Guy Mowbray, in Donetsk: "Fans I've seen and spoken to seem to be enjoying what Donetsk has had to offer. There've been justifed grumbles about the hugely inflated prices for pretty basic accommodation, but nobody's complaining about the very reasonable cost of food and beer. On that last point - let's hope everyone's mindful of the heat and how much they've had or they might miss the match!"


    Q. Paradise Forum on Twitter: Do you think Euro 2012 will be similar to 2004 when a less talented but more organised team won the trophy?

    A. It could happen, although I'm not sure it will. We've moved on a lot since Euro 2004. If you look at Spain, Holland, Germany, France, and maybe even Italy, I would be very surprised if an absolute outsider proved themselves good enough to beat those kind of teams and win the championship.

  28. 1417: 

    Mitchell on Twitter: "Fish and Chips. Salt and Pepper. Knife and Fork. Young and Welbeck."

    The Dram Duke on Twitter: "The Ox has been given the nod! Praise be to uncle Roy. Can't wait now."

    Edward Baigent on Twitter: "Happy for Ox but but feel for Walcott.He was the topscorer of English winger's last season and assisted the same as Young!" #bbcfootball

  29. 1414: 
    EURO 2012

    Senior football reporter Ian Dennis on BBC Radio 5 live: "Oxlade-Chamberlain's body language last night was so confident, his chest was out. They would have had an idea about team from way they set up in training. It's a really bold move by Roy Hodgson."

  30. 1410: 

    No prospect of any play at Queen's Club in west London for the time being, where the Aegon Championships are due to get under way today. Officials will make a decision later this afternoon on whether we are likely to get any play at all today. There's no possibility of playing any matches indoors, but the rain is expected to clear by Tuesday morning, meaning play will start early on all courts apart from Centre (which will begin at 1230 BST). They will use up to seven courts instead of the usual four to clear the backlog.


    Q. Paul Wood on Twitter: Why do you think some of the so-called best teams at Euro 2012 (Spain, Portugal, Italy) are being so defensive?

    A. There's a bit of a follow-on here from the way Chelsea played against Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Teams might think we will try and contain the opposition before taking any risks. That was the attitude Portugal had against Germany and it nearly worked because Portugal had a good chance before the end. Often it isn't until later in the tournament that people put their foot on the pedal, take the brake off and really express themselves.

  32. 1409: 
    EURO 2012

    The build-up to England v France is underway on BBC Radio 5 live and football commentator John Motson has been talking about the possible starting spot for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: "It's refreshing. The last time I can remember an 18-year-old making an impression in a tournament for England was Michael Owen at the World Cup in France in 1998."

  33. 1404: 

    Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "Perspective on Nadal: his 7 Roland Garros titles are as many as ALL Grand Slam titles won by McEnroe & Wilander and more than Edberg & Becker (6 each)."


    Q. Bob Crompton on Twitter: Why do you think none of the 'big' teams have hit the ground running so far?

    A. Often you'll see a team make a slow start to a championship and come good in the later stages. Germany are a prime example. I expect them to play better in the next few games, but they still won their opening match. Holland lost the first match in 1988 to the Soviet Union, and beat them in the final. Spain lost their first game to Switzerland at the World Cup and went on and won it. I see France as dark horses and it will be very interesting to see how they start, having gone 21 matches unbeaten.

  35. 1401: 
    EURO 2012

    The England team to face France in Donetsk this evening is not expected to be formally confirmed until 16:00 BST. Kick-off follows one hour later and BBC Sport's Phil Dawkes will be providing live text commentary on this website.

  36. 1354: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC website's chief football writer Phil McNulty "Mixture of surprise and anticipation at the idea of Oxlade-Chamberlain starting for England v France. Doesn't look like he suffers from nerves. His selection would be a bold statement of intent by England manager Roy Hodgson. Pace. Unpredictability."


    Q. Jonathan Reeves on Twitter: What are your thoughts on Adam Johnson and Micah Richards not being selected for the England squad?

    A. I don't think there's any conspiracy against Manchester City players. There was a misunderstanding with Micah Richards not being in the squad, and had he taken that better he might have been called up as a standby player. On ability, I would have taken him. Adam Johnson is an out-and-out winger and there are lots of wide options. It must have been a close call but he hasn't played all that many full 90 minutes and the lack of playing time may have counted against him.

  38. 1348: 
    EURO 2012

    He's the boy from a tiny Soviet village blighted by the Chernobyl disaster who became Europe's best footballer, now Andriy Shevchenko, captain of co-hosts Ukraine, tells BBC Sport's Simon Austin how he wants to create a fitting final chapter

    "It would be something impossible, unbelievable, to win Euro 2012," he says. "But it's a dream - something you have to think about, something you have to try for."


    Q. Ben Vokes on Twitter: If Kenny Dalglish was sacked for his signings at Liverpool, why are they playing for England?

    A. I don't think Liverpool's poor form in the league was purely down to their players in the England squad. If you look at them individually, some were selected for England before they joined Liverpool. One or two of them have a point to prove. Andy Carroll has to show he is an international centre-forward. Stewart Downing has yet to score for England and hasn't that many assists, while Jordan Henderson looks very much a squad player. Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard as captain must make sure his voice is heard.

  40. 1342: 

    Mike Martin on Twitter: "Suddenly feeling more optimistic; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting shows Roy is neither stubborn nor conservative."

    Jamie Lee on Twitter: "Give the Ox a chance! He's young, exciting and fearless! That's what England need. He'll run rings around the French defence." #bbcfootball

    Gavin Hoebeeck on Twitter: "If Chamberlain is going to start it is positive but what has happened to Walcott?" #bbcfootball

  41. 1332: 

    Rafael Nadal expresses his delight at claiming a record-breaking seventh French Open title: "It's an honour but the most important thing is this tournament. It's unforgettable, one of the most special moments in my career."


    Q. Lewis Deakin on Twitter: Do you think England's mix of youth and experience will count at Euro 2012?

    A. There is experience in the likes of Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Ashley Cole. As for the youth side, Phil Jones may have a part to play, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may get a chance, Ashley Young is a new factor in the last couple of years. The mix looks very good on paper. There were signs in the games against Norway and Belgium that Roy Hodgson had a bit of a cocktail there of players who have been round the block and those who still had it all to come. It's very important the older players help the newcomers. My only fear is it's a comparatively new team with a new manager and it might take a bit of time to bed down, and there isn't the time.

  43. 1326: 

    Tournament organisers confirm there will definitely be no play before 1400 BST at the AEGON Championship at Queen's Club because of heavy rain.

  44. 1322: 
    EURO 2012

    As it stands, this is unconfirmed, but Daily Mail chief football correspondent Matt Lawton has reported on Twitter that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in England's starting XI to face France: "Oxlade-Chamberlain to start. Hart; Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole; Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Young; Welbeck. I quite like it."


    Q. Darren Tonks on Twitter: What's your opinion of the mood in the England camp ahead of this evening's game?

    A. It seems a bit more relaxed than it was under Fabio Capello. He took them to a very remote part of South Africa for the World Cup and the players admitted to being bored. Roy Hodgson cancelled the pre-tournament trip to Spain and gave them some rest. England are staying in the middle of Krakow rather than being shut off where no-one can see them. The mood is better because the players are not under so much pressure. The younger players coming into the squad have brought a freshness to it.

  46. 1307: 

    Rafael Nadal clinches a record seventh French Open title, beating world number one Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 and shattering the Serb's dream of holding all four Grand Slam titles.


    BBC football commentator John Motson is answering your questions about Euro 2012.

    Q. Melvyn Jones on Twitter: Have England realistically got a chance at the Euros?

    A. I think it's a bit early to talk about England winning the competition. There's a very good chance they might get out of the group and into the quarter-finals. I would consider that to be a qualified success bearing in mind Roy Hodgson took over very close to the start of the championship. It would be a huge surprise if they were to win.

  48. 1258: 

    Nicola Adams, Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall will represent Britain when women's boxing makes its Olympic debut in London this summer.

    Anthony Ogogo and Josh Taylor are also confirmed in the men's squad for the boxing event, joining Andrew Selby, Luke Campbell, Tom Stalker, Fred Evans and Anthony Joshua, who had already been selected for Team GB.

  49. 1255: 

    The Press Association reports Manchester United are in talks to sign highly-rate Crewe youngster Nick Powell.

  50. 1250: 

    Thanks for all your Euro 2012 questions for John Motson. You can read his answers here from 1300 BST onwards.

  51. 1243: 

    Promoter Buster Chapman explains the reasons behind King's Lynn's sixth postponement of the season after their fixture with Swindon was called off.

    He says: "We just felt that it was necessary to do it early because otherwise everyone's hanging around waiting and then nothing happens. It's just so frustrating."

  52. 1239: 

    Plenty of support for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get his chance at Euro 2012. However, some concerns are being raised over whether too much pressure could be placed on the 18-year-old's young shoulders. What do you think? Let us know via Twitter using the #bbcfootball hashtag.

    Nicholas Turvey on Twitter: "I think that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be our ‪Gazza‬ of Italia '90 at Euro 2012. Do you think Roy sees it that way? ‪#faith." #bbcfootball‬

    David Grimsdale on Twitter: "The Ox to start, Downing on the bench? Would that cheer up the nation?" #bbcfootball

    Kyle Goldsworthy on Twitter: "I dont like all this pressure being put on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He is a major talent but will he become a scapegoat if England fail?" #bbcfootball

  53. 1230: 
    EURO 2012

    Wayne Rooney on Twitter: "Can't wait for game. We're ready."

  54. 1226: 

    Tom Daley headlines the 12-member GB Olympic diving squad announced today for London 2012. Monique Gladding will also compete at her first Games just 18 months after she almost died following a freak accident at a diving competition in Russia.

    Full squad: Tom Daley (10m, individual & synchro), Pete Waterfield (10m, individual & platform), Jack Laugher (3m), Chris Mears (3m individual, synchro), Nick Robinson-Baker (3m synchro), Stacie Powell (10m), Monique Gladding (10m), Tonia Couch (10m synchro), Sarah Barrow (10m synchro), Rebecca Gallantree (3m, individual & synchro), Hannah Starling (3m), Alicia Blagg (3m synchro).

  55. 1219: 

    There will be no play at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, one of the main women's warm-up events for Wimbledon, until at least 1300 today because of rain. Britons Heather Watson, Melanie South and Tara Moore were all scheduled to be in action.

  56. 1217: 
    EURO 2012

    Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is to miss just one Euro 2012 game after being sent off in the opening match against Greece.

    UEFA says its disciplinary panel declined to extend the Arsenal goalkeeper's mandatory one-match ban for getting a straight red card in Poland's 1-1 draw on Friday. He is ineligible to face Group A leader Russia in Warsaw tomorrow, but can return for the last group match against Czech Republic on Saturday.

  57. 1213: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport commentator Guy Mowbray, in Donetsk ahead of England v France, says: "It is seriously hot here and I'm hoping that the slightly cooling breeze we started to feel around kick-off time yesterday will start up again.

    "I don't think the acclimatisation is as big a factor as some are making out - if it's warm then it's warm for both teams. The problem will come if England surrender possession as much as many think will be the case. You don't want to be chasing for it in this!"

  58. 1208: 
    EURO 2012

    Have the mind games already kicked off? They might be unbeaten in 21 matches, but Laurent Blanc claims France are no longer a major footballing power despite their fine form going into the tournament.

    "The team don't have the same ambitions as Spain or Germany at the start of the Euros," says the France coach. You can read the full article here on the BBC Sport website.

  59. 1201: 
    EURO 2012

    For those of you who might still be tied up with work commitments for England v France, the BBC will show a full match re-run at 1900 BST online and on the red button for cable and satellite viewers.

    At 2200 BST the match will be replayed again for all viewers on the red button as well as online. Highlights will be screened in the Match of the Day at 1900 before the Ukraine v Sweden match.

  60. 1153: 
    EURO 2012

    While on the subject of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden's enigmatic talisman comes under discussion in an article by BBC Sport's Nathan Mercer on the website.

  61. 1149: 
    EURO 2012

    More from Jonathan Pearce, who is commentating on tonight's game between Ukraine and Sweden, on the Scandinavians. "Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revelled in a deeper role and yesterday the coach Erik Hamren look resigned to playing Johan Elmander from the start despite the doubts over his fitness," he says.

    "He doesn't want to affect the formation because Ibrahimovic has been so impressive in that deeper role. The people that travel with Sweden are normally a bit reticent but they're very confident about Sweden's prospects."

  62. 1143: 
    EURO 2012

    Markus Rosenberg starts on the right wing instead of Johan Elmander for Sweden in tonight's Euro 2012 Group D match against co-hosts Ukraine.

    Ex-Bolton player Elmander suffered a broken foot more than a month ago but, despite the fracture having healed and his return to full training, he starts on the bench. Rasmus Elm gets the nod ahead of Anders Svensson, while Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both start.

  63. 1135: 

    Ross Parker on Twitter: "France will definitely be wary of Young's goal threat. He'll play in the hole behind Welbeck and that makes him hard to mark." #bbcfootball

    Alex Howden on Twitter: "For me, Carroll HAS to start. Need physical presence up top...mind you, his finishing was woeful in open training session!" #bbcfootball

    Will Hartland on Twitter: "The only thing France should fear is how to break down this England team." #bbcfootball

  64. 1129: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC pundit and former England striker Alan Shearer tips Manchester United's Ashley Young to be one of the stars of Euro 2012. Young has scored five times in his last seven games for England.

    "In an England shirt he looks comfortable and relaxed, I think he could have a good tournament," Shearer says. You can watch the full video on the BBC Sport website.

  65. 1124: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport's roving reporter Tim Peach on Twitter: "Our weather guru Simon King says that temperatures are going to top 37 degrees here in Donetsk today."

  66. 1112: 

    So, we have had plenty of debate over the merits of Stewart Downing, what about where England's goals are going to potentially come from tonight? No Wayne Rooney, of course, so much of the responsibility looks set to fall on the young shoulders of Danny Welbeck. Ashley Young arrives in good goalscoring form at least, and skipper Steven Gerrard will be eager to lead by example. Who will France fear most? Let us know via Twitter using the #bbcfootball hashtag.

  67. 1106: 
    EURO 2012

    Offering up his verdict on England's Euro 2012 chances, BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson says "expectations are lower and that will help England." You can watch the full video on the BBC Sport website.

  68. 1101: 

    Sean Ahn on Twitter: "The whole shape of the campaign DOES rest on the meeting with France. The media will, however, go crazy either way."

  69. 1101: 
    EURO 2012

    More from Simon Brotherton, who was commentating on the Republic of Ireland's 3-1 defeat against Croatia last night. "Around the commentary position speaking to various former Irish internationals and pundits and they were all highly critical of the way the game had panned out and frustrated by the limitations of the team that were shown up in terms of people feeling there was no plan b and they hadn't been executing plan a either."

  70. 1055: 

    Ian Duke on Twitter: "Getting the England tunes out - Vindaloo by Fat Les has to be a classic."

  71. 1054: 

    Away from the football for just a moment, and Northampton have confirmed the signing of Samoa international Ken Pisi, the 23-year-old outside back, who is the younger brother of Saints' player of the year, George.

  72. 1052: 
    EURO 2012

    More now from Phil McNulty, whose match report you can read on the BBC website after Monday's match: "After listening to several players over the last few days and hearing from Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard yesterday, the mood is one of cautious optimism," he says. "Expectations within the camp are high, but a couple of messages coming out loud and clear yesterday were that England do not intend to get too high should they start with a win tonight or too low should they lose. They do not feel the whole shape of the campaign rests on the meeting with France."

  73. 1048: 

    Tejas on Twitter: "What if Downing does score a hat-trick, and does a 'Ramdin' celebration?!"

  74. 1046: 
    EURO 2012

    To get you in the mood for this afternoon's match, you can watch highlights of the 1982 World Cup encounter between England and France, when Bryan Robson scored in the first minute, on the BBC website.

  75. 1042: 

    Dan Cater on Twitter: "In front of Milner, Gerrard & Parker couldn't England employ Carroll upfront with Young & Walcott out wide?

  76. 1040: 
    EURO 2012

    More from former Tottenham and Newcastle playmaker David Ginola, the ex-French international, who earlier told BBC Radio 5 live: "It is a big task for England because France are favourites - the results talk for themselves. If England beat France it will give them confidence. They will miss Wayne Rooney, they are going to have to find a solution to replace him. They have to keep the ball up front, otherwise France will keep the ball for ever and pass the ball and score goals."

    John Motson, BBC football commentator

    Q&A: Don't forget to keep sending in your questions. This is your chance to quiz me on anything to do with Euro 2012 - from England's opening game against France to the matches played so far. Send your questions in on Twitter using #bbcfootball. I will answer the best this afternoon.

  78. 1032: 
    EURO 2012

    The BBC's Simon Brotherton, who was commentating on the Republic of Ireland's 3-1 defeat against Croatia last night, says: "People felt that whatever happened in that first game at least Ireland would be tough to break down and solid but that patently wasn't the case. They were 1-0 down before they started and forced to chase the game against opponents good enough to pass them to bits. After such a long wait it was a disappointment to lose in the way they did. No-one's pretending they're Brazil and they have limitations at this level but they will be very disappointed after that performance."

  79. 1028: 
    EURO 2012

    More from Jonathan Pearce, who will be commentating on Ukraine against Sweden tonight, the other match in England's group. You can listen to live commentary of England against France from 1700 BST on BBC Radio 5 live. "Tonight's result against France could be anything," Pearce says. "They're the form team but they could still disappear in a fit of pique. It will be very tight and as long as England don't lose they stand a good chance of going through."

  80. 1025: 
    EURO 2012

    Spain played without a genuine striker in that match against Italy and you can read an assessment of their tactics on the BBC website, with analysis from former England internationals Lee Dixon and Danny Mills.

  81. 1022: 

    BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on Twitter: "Even though Newton Abbot (today) on, another SW track - Salisbury - to inspect ahead of planned Tuesday fixture."

  82. 1021: 
    EURO 2012

    Polish FA chief Grzegorz Lato dismisses Spain's complaints about the pitch after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Italy, denying the grass was too long and saying the Italians refused to let it be watered. "What nonsense! The grass was the perfect length," he told a local radio station. "The thing is that often one waters the pitch for the game. But you need agreement from the two teams. The Spanish wanted it to be watered, the Italians did not agree."

  83. 1018: 
    EURO 2012

    More from BBC Sport's Phil McNulty, who will be writing the England match report tonight: "Donetsk is just as hot as we expected it to be and just a short walk gets the perspiration going. The kick-off is early evening so England's players will hope temperatures have dipped enough to make life more comfortable. The French are acclimatised here whereas England have come from the much cooler climate of Krakow. Manager Roy Hodgson has faith in his medical team to get the players at perfect pitch for tonight's game."

  84. 1013: 

    Nick on Twitter: "Geared up for this evening by changing my work PC background to Gazza firing home in Euro 96. Oh yeah, I work in Edinburgh..."

  85. 1011: 
    EURO 2012

    Former England manager Graham Taylor on BBC Radio 5 live: "[England] happen to be [ranked] fourth in the tournament and that's because of what has happened in the past but it's what happens next that matters, what happens tonight."

  86. 1009: 

    Will Guice on Twitter: "Don't see why Milner and Downing are both playing - very uninspiring players. I hope for the Ox or Walcott to come on at half-time."

  87. 1006: 

    A quick speedway line for you and the Elite League fixture between King's Lynn and Swindon has been postponed.

  88. 1005: 

    Adam Vowles on Twitter: "Why don't people get behind our players before the match and give them a chance, If Downing has a poor game then be critical..

  89. 1002: 
    EURO 2012

    The BBC website's chief football writer Phil McNulty is also with the England team and says: "More England fans are making their way into this busy city now - and their mood is one of expectation but not too much. There is certainly none of the triumphalism that has accompanied many previous major tournaments."

  90. 0958: 

    Andrew Hill on Twitter: "Sitting in my office in Paris in my shiny new England shirt. Work will be horrific tomorrow if we capitulate. Come on boys!"

  91. 0953: 
    EURO 2012

    Former French international David Ginola on BBC Radio 5 live: "The main reason England are in the Euros is because they are a good team but they have to prove it tonight against a very good French team. If Benzema plays to the level he played for Real Madrid he's going to be a real asset.

  92. 0952: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Radio 5 live's Ian Dennis is with the England team in Donetsk and says: "The heat will undoubtedly be a factor but the players will know what to expect. I think by kick-off most of the playing surface will be cast in shadow but the nature of the three tiered bowl stadium means it will be breathless conditions. I sense the feeling in the camp is one of quiet optimism and after three days of watching the action they are itching to get started."

  93. 0948: 
    EURO 2012

    Jonathan Pearce will be your commentator on BBC One tonight for the Ukraine v Sweden match in Kiev, the other game in England's group, which you can watch from 1900 BST, when we will also have highlights of England against France. "This group all depends on how Ukraine play," he says. "They're untried competitively and they showed what they can do under Blokhin in 2006 and the key to the group is Ukraine because we've got to play them in the last game.

  94. 0945: 

    The covers are on at Edgbaston and prospects for the final day's play in the Test match are not encouraging. England are 221-5, trailing West Indies by 205 runs. Mark Mitchener will provide his inimitable live text shortly on the BBC website.

  95. 0941: 
    EURO 2012

    Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton on BBC Radio 5 live: "We've got a new manager and can't look back at the World Cup. We've got players like John Terry and Ashley Cole who are Champions League winners and are world class defenders. Steven Gerrard could get into most teams, as would Wayne Rooney. We've got a lot of quality and if we could get a bit of confidence we could do well."

  96. 0938: 

    Martin Evans on Twitter: "Even though I am leaving work at 3.30 I have a feeling I am just starting the longest day at work for a while. C'mon England."

  97. 0935: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC football pundit Steve Claridge on BBC Radio 5 live: "I don't know anyone who expects us to go and win a tournament. It's a media myth. We haven't got the quality. If we go out of the competition I expect us to go out in the right way, unlike under Fabio Capello in the World Cup. The manager set the team up wrong. Steven Gerrard on the left did not help the balance of the side. We just saw it at Chelsea and the difference a manager can make. At least we have a focus now and we know what the side is going to be and the way they are going to play."

  98. 0930: 

    Pete on Twitter: "I genuinely believe England can win the Euros & I'm going to carry on believing this right up to the point we get knocked out."

  99. 0928: 
    EURO 2012

    Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton on BBC Radio 5 live: "Not easy to win in world football. We have got strengths and ability in the side. We haven't got to concede too many simple goals which has been a problem in recent years. We go in with a realistic chance but we can't go overboard."

  100. 0927: 

    Away from the football for a moment and today we have the annual Wimbledon warm-up event at the delightful Queen's Club in west London. David Nalbandian begins proceedings at 1230 BST against Canadian Vasek Pospisil, and there will be live coverage on the BBC website and Red Button from 1230 BST and BBC Two from 1300 BST, although the weather forecast is bleak.

  101. 0915: 

    Josh F on Twitter: "I think Downing was saving all his goals and assists this season for ‪Euro2012.‬ England 4 France 0 - Downing hat-trick..."

  102. 0915: 

    Euro 2012 Q&A: BBC commentator John Motson will answer your questions this afternoon. You can ask him about England's opening game, defeat for the Republic of Ireland, his teams and players to watch, or anything about the tournament. Send your questions in on Twitter using #bbcfootball and he will answer the best.‪

  103. 0908: 
    EURO 2012

    He may have been left out but Rio Ferdinand on Twitter is still looking out for the team: "Let's hope the ‪Three Lions‬ do us proud later... ‪Come On England‬ ...1-0 England!"

  104. 0905: 
    EURO 2012

    Former Republic of Ireland international David O'Leary on BBC Radio 5 live: "As with all players from England, Scotland, Wales and the Irish sides, we don't like it too hot and I hope that doesn't catch them out."

  105. 0901: 

    Not a great deal of love for Stewart, let's hope he's not reading this. Who would you like to see on the flanks for England tonight? #bbcfootball

    Andrew Staniford on Twitter: "Really not bothered about tonight and that's sad. If Downing starts on the wing tonight I despair."

    Dan Bamber on Twitter: "If Downing starts today, then I'm due my England debut very soon."

  106. 0856: 
    EURO 2012

    Coming up in the next few minutes on BBC Radio 5 live, Steve Claridge, Graham Taylor and Peter Shilton discuss whether England can be the 'surprise package' at Euro 2012.

  107. 0854: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC pundit Robbie Savage on Twitter: "I'm going for a narrow French win 1-0/2-1 what do you lot think? I want England to win though!"

  108. 0850: 

    South African Branden Grace, a three-time winner on the European Tour this season, and American Spencer Levin earn the final two exempt spots in this week's US Open, which starts in San Francisco on Thursday. The duo earned places after reaching the world's top 60, but the fact they were the only two means three players who just missed out on qualifying - Americans Justin Hicks, Kyle Thompson and Colt Knost - are also called into the field.

  109. 0845: 

    Chris Smith on Twitter: "As it stands today, we top the table on alphabetical order! Let's hope that continues."

    iShaq on Twitter: "If Downing starts today, every left footed midfielder in England has a right to have a strop at not being picked! Ox all the way!"

    Luke Owen on Twitter: "Andy Carroll needs to start ahead of Danny Welbeck if we are to have any presence in the final third tonight."

  110. 0840: 
    EURO 2012

    England manager Roy Hodgson admits the team may feel "the weight of history" with 46 years having elapsed since the team's solitary World Cup win, but BBC Sport's Phil McNulty reports that Hodgson has been happy with the start to his reign and the national team boss says: "I'm not convinced if we had had more time we would have been better prepared."

  111. 0835: 
    EURO 2012

    Daily Telegraph's Henry Winter on Twitter: "Glorious day in Donetsk. Off to cover the goodwill event with England and Ukraine supporters this morning."

    Tottenham and France striker Louis Saha on Twitter: "Morning everybody. England vs France. I can't wait. I will be in the Studio to watch I'm sure 'The best game so far.'"

  112. 0831: 
    EURO 2012

    England fans will be hoping captain Steven Gerrard plays an influential role in the tournament. BBC Sport's Ben Smith profiles the Liverpool talisman with help from former England international John Barnes, who says: "He might not have been as eye-catching for country as he has been for club but that is because of the way he has been asked to play. It isn't fair to say Steven hasn't had a great England career - it's not his fault."

  113. 0825: 

    Ellis Hatch on Twitter: "After that performance I cannot see Ireland getting a point..."

  114. 0823: 
    EURO 2012

    Not a great start for the Republic of Ireland. Beaten 3-1 by Croatia and facing defending champions and World Cup holders Spain in their next match on Thursday. Coach Giovanni Trapattoni says they are not down and out yet, as he has to really, insisting: "We have to believe." What do you think? Can the Irish find something against Spain and Italy and somehow qualify? Let us know via Twitter with the hashtag #bbcfootball

  115. 0815: 
    EURO 2012

    So it's going to be a hot day in Donetsk, temperatures could reach early/mid-30s by kick-off at 1700 BST. France will be donning Cyro Jackets containing ice to cool them down at half-time, but as Phil McNulty reports on the BBC website, England are confident they will not need such unusual methods to combat the heat.

  116. 0811: 

    Jarl Sam Lawrence on Twitter: "The nation will sink into a hole and not want to watch if Downing starts today! ‪0 goals 0 assists‬ and still gets picked."

  117. 0809: 

    One cricket line for you: Englishman Nigel Llong has been appointed to the ICC Elite Panel of umpires following Billy Doctrove's recent retirement. We'll keep you up-to-date with the Test match at Edgbaston, although the weather forecast is not good there, or at the French Open in Paris where Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are hoping to complete the men's singles final.

  118. 0805: 
    EURO 2012

    Our correspondents are assembled at Euro 2012 and this is your chance to ask them your questions. What would you like to ask the BBC experts? They must be football-related questions of course, but send them in via Twitter with the hashtag #bbcfootball

  119. 0804: 
    EURO 2012

    BBC Sport's Phil McNulty on Twitter: "Morning from Donetsk. Looks like another boiling hot day for England to contend with for their first Euro 2012 game here against France."

  120. 0801: 

    England manager Roy Hodgson hopes John Terry can be the team's "warrior" in Euro 2012 (the Sun). In domestic football gossip, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, 24, has ruled out a summer transfer to Manchester United, who he claims have been trying to sign him for four years. (Metro). Meanwhile, new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could move for Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge. (Daily Star)

  121. 0800: 
    EURO 2012

    Good morning and welcome to Euro 2012 Sportsday, on the day that England begin their campaign. Kick-off in Donetsk is 1700 BST and we'll have much to bring you before Phil Dawkes starts his live text commentary shortly after 1500 BST. We want to hear all your pre-match thoughts on who you'd like to see in the England team and the formation you'd like to see, even your pre-match rituals and how you'll be watching the match. Send those in via Twitter and remember that the hashtag for the duration of the tournament will be #bbcfootball, but we start as always with three stories from today's gossip column on the BBC website.

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England make solid Euro 2012 start

England's Joleon Lescott controls the ball in front of France's Karim Benzema France 1-1 England

Latest team news ahead of England's match against France in Euro 2012.

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