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Gary Cahill solid but England contrive to drop points against Russia in first match at Euro 2016

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England 1-1 Russia, with bonus in-stadium violence after the final whistle

Classic Gary Cahill.
Classic Gary Cahill.
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

England controlled, dare I say dominated, proceedings for over 90 minutes against a distinctly poor Russia side.  They played well enough to be leading by more than just the one solitary goal from an Eric Dier free kick.  But a 1-0 lead is always dangerous and just before the final whistle, England somehow contrived to concede a silly goal and give away the three points that looked in the bag all night long.

All that solid work in defense — Cahill and Smalling had zero problems controlling Russia's inept forward line — and good work in midfield (Rooney playing alongside Dier and Alli) for naught.  England's wide forwards, Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana should shoulder plenty of the blame for being their own worst enemies (especially the former), but on another day, their industry is rewarded and the narrative remains far more positive.  England did play well; Hodgson did give youth a chance (though not putting on Vardy at some point was a bit baffling); but England Spurs'd it up anyway.  Bonus points to Gary Cahill for his petulant little jump as the ball arced into the goal.

C'est la vie.

The 1-1 draw is great news for both Wales, who now sit atop the group, and Slovakia, who despite the unlucky loss to Bale & Co earlier in the day are still in with a great chance to qualify for the Round of 16.

And of course all this is still greatly overshadowed by all the violence between England fans, Russia fans, local ultras, and French police over the past couple days in Marseille.  Trouble broke out in the stadium, too, apparently, after the final whistle.  Sad, stupid, and infuriating.