Wayne Rooney marked his England return with the goal that secured a place in Euro 2012's last eight - but it was a rough passage eased by helpings of good fortune and controversy against Ukraine.
England manager Roy Hodgson instantly restored Rooney after a two-match suspension in place of Andy Carroll with orders to make a belated mark on the campaign after sitting out the draw against France and victory against Sweden.
And after missing a simple header in the first half, the Manchester United striker ensured England topped Group D to set up a quarter-final meeting with Italy in Kiev on Sunday.
England could have met world and European champions Spain but that eventuality was avoided by Sweden's 2-0 win against France, and Rooney's first goal in a major tournament since scoring twice in the 4-2 victory over Croatia in Lisbon at Euro 2004.
"We hope Wayne Rooney will get fitter. Steven Gerrard is a massive plus and if he can keep this form then England have a chance. We're not playing great football, we're just getting results."
Ukraine, however, will complain long and hard about a contentious second-half incident when Marko Devic's shot clearly crossed the line before it was scrambled away by John Terry, only for the officials to remain unmoved.
The incident immediately revived the debate about goal-line technology, with a final decision on whether it is introduced expected to be taken in Zurich on 5 July.
England will regard it as a measure of justice for Frank Lampard's disallowed goal against Germany in Bloemfontein at the 2010 World Cup - but it was also an illustration of how they rode their luck for long periods in front of a predictably partisan home crowd.
But once again Hodgson's men found a way to get the result they required and there is a real air of respectability about their campaign even though they had to survive a first-half siege from a Ukraine side desperate for the win they needed to progress.
Oleg Blokhin's side lost the talismanic Andriy Shevchenko to the substitutes' bench because of a knee injury but still showed enough to put England through real turmoil in spells.
A lack of match sharpness was perhaps to blame for Rooney squandering England's best chance after 27 minutes.
It appeared he only had to make clean contact with Manchester United team-mate Ashley Young's cross to score but his far-post header lacked conviction and went tamely wide of keeper Andriy Pyatov's goal.
Either side of Rooney's fluffed chance, it was a tale of Ukrainian domination as they attacked England down both flanks and showed the greater fluidity of the teams.
Scott Parker was desperately urging England's players to keep possession - but it was easier said than done amid waves of Ukraine attacks and it needed a penalty area block from the Tottenham midfield man to thwart Devic.
England keeper Joe Hart had to save smartly from the dangerous Andriy Yarmolenko, who also raised the hopes of the Donetsk crowd as he evaded several challenges in the area before running out of space.
However, Rooney made no mistake with his second headed opportunity, Steven Gerrard's delivery from the right once again the creative source. The cross took two deflections and slipped from the grasp of Pyatov for a simple far-post header from the Manchester United striker.
The crowd was momentarily silenced but Ukraine refused to lose heart - and they were robbed of an equaliser when once again an effort that had crossed the line was not spotted by officials.
Artem Milevskiy should have done better than send a header wide but the real controversy came when Hart partially stopped Devic's effort and Terry desperately scrambled back to hook the ball off the line.
The Ukrainians immediately demanded a goal and their claims were vindicated as replays showed the ball crossed the line before Terry's intervention.
There was still time amid the drama for Ashley Cole to almost mark his 97th cap with a goal but the erratic Pyatov made a fine recovery save after another inelegant attempt to deal with a cross.
With 20 minutes left it was time for the entrance of Ukraine's great sporting icon Shevchenko.
He received a thunderous ovation as his country looked to him to rescue their Euro 2012 campaign but it was a task beyond even the veteran striker, who was soon booked for a rash challenge.
Before the game manager Hodgson had said England could dream a little - ahead of the confrontation with Italy in Kiev, they can now afford to dream a little more.
- 01 Hart
- 02 Johnson
- 03 Cole Booked
- 06 Terry
- 15 Lescott
- 04 Gerrard Booked
- 11 Young
- 16 Milner (Walcott - 70' )
- 17 Parker
- 10 Rooney (Oxlade-Chamberlain - 87' )
- 22 Welbeck (Carroll - 82' )
- 13 Green
- 23 Butland
- 05 Kelly
- 12 Baines
- 14 Jones
- 18 Jagielka
- 07 Walcott
- 08 Henderson
- 19 Downing
- 20 Oxlade-Chamberlain
- 09 Carroll
- 21 Defoe
- 12 Pyatov
- 02 Selin
- 03 Khacheridi
- 20 Rakitskiy Booked
- 04 Tymoschuk Booked
- 06 Garmash (Nazarenko - 78' )
- 09 Gusev
- 11 Yarmolenko
- 19 Konoplienka
- 15 Milevskiy (Butko - 77' )
- 22 Devic (Shevchenko - 70' Booked )
- 01 Koval
- 23 Goryainov
- 05 Kucher
- 13 Shevchuk
- 17 Mykhalyk
- 21 Butko
- 08 Aliev
- 14 Rotan
- 18 Nazarenko
- 07 Shevchenko
- 10 Voronin
- 16 Seleznyov
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +1:32
Andy Carroll challenges Yevgen Selin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andrei Pyatov.90:00 +0:49
Andriy Yarmolenko takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.88:32
Anatoliy Tymoschuk crosses the ball, blocked by Scott Parker.85:54
Ashley Cole takes the free kick.85:54 Substitution
Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on in place of Wayne Rooney.85:54 Booking
Booking Andriy Shevchenko is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.85:48
Andriy Shevchenko challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick.84:36
The ball is delivered by Serhiy Nazarenko.83:49
Outswinging corner taken by Serhiy Nazarenko from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by John Terry. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Serhiy Nazarenko from the right by-line to the near post.81:19
Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.81:19 Substitution
Substitution Andy Carroll comes on in place of Danny Welbeck.81:19
Anatoliy Tymoschuk gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Gerrard.80:51
Wayne Rooney challenges Anatoliy Tymoschuk unfairly and gives away a free kick. Anatoliy Tymoschuk takes the direct free kick.80:21
Effort from just outside the area by Serhiy Nazarenko goes over the target.78:14
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Yevhen Khacheridi by Danny Welbeck. Yaroslav Rakitskiy restarts play with the free kick.78:00 Booking
Booking Ashley Cole is shown a yellow card for time wasting.77:29 Substitution
Substitution Serhiy Nazarenko replaces Denys Garmash.76:34 Substitution
Substitution Artem Milevskiy goes off and Bohdan Butko comes on.76:34
Yevgen Konoplianka produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.
The ball is swung over by Oleg Gusev, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.74:18
Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Andrei Pyatov.73:35
Joleon Lescott takes the free kick.73:35 Booking
Booking Yaroslav Rakitskiy goes into the book.73:28
Free kick awarded for a foul by Yaroslav Rakitskiy on Steven Gerrard.73:09
Yevgen Konoplianka takes a shot. Joe Hart makes a save.72:36
Anatoliy Tymoschuk takes the direct free kick.72:36 Booking
Booking Steven Gerrard shown a yellow card.72:31
Steven Gerrard challenges Denys Garmash unfairly and gives away a free kick.71:17
The ball is swung over by Oleg Gusev, Ashley Young gets a block in. Corner taken by Yaroslav Rakitskiy.69:36 Substitution
Substitution Marko Devic goes off and Andriy Shevchenko comes on.69:17 Substitution
Substitution Theo Walcott joins the action as a substitute, replacing James Milner.67:38
James Milner crosses the ball, Andrei Pyatov makes a save. Shot from 12 yards from Ashley Cole. Save made by Andrei Pyatov. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line, save by Andrei Pyatov.66:47
Yevhen Khacheridi fouled by James Milner, the ref awards a free kick. Yevhen Khacheridi restarts play with the free kick.65:52
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Yevhen Khacheridi by Ashley Young. Anatoliy Tymoschuk takes the direct free kick.62:59
Strike comes in from Wayne Rooney from the free kick. Andriy Yarmolenko produces a cross.62:59 Booking
Booking Anatoliy Tymoschuk booked for unsporting behaviour.61:51
Marko Devic takes a shot. John Terry makes a clearance. Anatoliy Tymoschuk concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Parker.60:07
Short corner taken by Yevgen Konoplianka. Andriy Yarmolenko delivers the ball, Artem Milevskiy has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.58:41
Unfair challenge on Denys Garmash by Wayne Rooney results in a free kick. Yevhen Khacheridi takes the free kick.58:28
A cross is delivered by Ashley Young, Yaroslav Rakitskiy makes a clearance.57:49
Unfair challenge on Ashley Cole by Denys Garmash results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ashley Young.55:34
The ball is delivered by Ashley Young.54:52
Effort from a long way out by Yevgen Konoplianka goes wide right of the goal.53:52
Unfair challenge on Artem Milevskiy by John Terry results in a free kick. Denys Garmash takes the free kick.53:22
James Milner takes a shot. Yaroslav Rakitskiy gets a block in.52:40
The ball is delivered by Yevgen Konoplianka, blocked by Ashley Cole. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Yevgen Konoplianka from the right by-line.52:05
Yevgen Konoplianka takes a outswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Danny Welbeck.51:26
The ball is crossed by Oleg Gusev, save by Joe Hart. Corner taken by Yevgen Konoplianka played to the near post, clearance by Ashley Cole.48:58
Yevgen Konoplianka takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Glen Johnson. Inswinging corner taken by Yevgen Konoplianka from the left by-line, Scott Parker makes a clearance.47:29
The assist for the goal came from Steven Gerrard.47:29 Goal scored
Goal! - Wayne Rooney - England 1 - 0 Ukraine Wayne Rooney finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. England 1-0 Ukraine.47:22
The ball is sent over by Steven Gerrard,46:55
Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line to the near post, Anatoliy Tymoschuk makes a clearance.45:48
Unfair challenge on Ashley Cole by Andriy Yarmolenko results in a free kick. Ashley Cole takes the free kick.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +0:05 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.44:41
The ball is delivered by Denys Garmash.44:02
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Yevgen Selin by James Milner. Direct free kick taken by Yaroslav Rakitskiy.42:00
Corner taken by Yevgen Konoplianka played to the near post.41:49
A cross is delivered by Oleg Gusev, blocked by Joleon Lescott.40:23
Effort from outside the penalty area by Scott Parker goes wide left of the target.37:24
Foul by James Milner on Artem Milevskiy, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Yevgen Selin.35:56
Denys Garmash has an effort at goal from long range that goes wide left.35:29
Ashley Young sends in a cross, Yaroslav Rakitskiy manages to make a clearance.34:23
Free kick awarded for a foul by Denys Garmash on Danny Welbeck. John Terry takes the free kick.32:45
Marko Devic produces a cross, clearance made by Glen Johnson.31:07
Shot by Ashley Young from 25 yards. Yevhen Khacheridi gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Header from deep inside the area by John Terry goes over the bar.29:47
Andriy Yarmolenko takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.27:18
The ball is swung over by Ashley Young, Close range header by Wayne Rooney misses to the right of the goal.26:32
The ball is crossed by James Milner.24:56
Anatoliy Tymoschuk concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Young. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.23:34
Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line played to the near post.22:40
Free kick awarded for a foul by Yaroslav Rakitskiy on Glen Johnson. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Gerrard, Andrei Pyatov makes a save.21:38
Effort on goal by Oleg Gusev from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.20:06
The ball is swung over by Oleg Gusev, John Terry manages to make a clearance.17:23
Yevgen Konoplianka takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in. Effort from just outside the area by Anatoliy Tymoschuk goes over the target.15:32
Centre by Yevgen Selin, save by Joe Hart.14:36
Effort on goal by Yaroslav Rakitskiy from a long way out goes over the bar.13:19
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Steven Gerrard, save by Andrei Pyatov.13:06
The ball is delivered by Glen Johnson, clearance made by Oleg Gusev.12:21
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Anatoliy Tymoschuk. Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.12:00
The ball is delivered by Yevgen Selin. Marko Devic takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Parker.10:57
Centre by Ashley Cole, save by Andrei Pyatov.9:16
Foul by Artem Milevskiy on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded. Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.7:08
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Denys Garmash by Wayne Rooney. Anatoliy Tymoschuk takes the direct free kick.6:30
Denys Garmash produces a right-footed effort from long distance that goes harmlessly over the bar.5:12
Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Welbeck on Yaroslav Rakitskiy. Free kick taken by Yevgen Selin.1:03
Yevgen Konoplianka takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand post.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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