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England-France: What the players and coaches said

Jun 11, 2012, 5:50 PM EDT

England Training and Press Conference - Group D: UEFA EURO 2012
  • England midfielder Steven Gerrard, on 18-year-old England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain:

“They’re young players but good players. Wayne Rooney showed all those years ago that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Oxlade-Chamberlain showed that he’s good enough for this level. He’s still got a lot of learning to do but playing with experienced players he’ll get there.”

  • England manager Roy Hodgson on his team’s day of defense:

“France don’t panic in the final third so you have to be very disciplined in your defending.To finish 1-1 and ask the questions of them that we did, I’ve got to be happy. … e kept them at bay and there weren’t that many situations in front of our goal where I was panicking in any way. And there were a few situations in their third where we would have scored a second goal with a bit of luck.”

  • Hodgson on referee Nicola Rizzoli:

“The referee did OK. It’s foolish to start commenting on the referee’s performance. Sometimes you’ll get a bit of luck, sometimes not. I know that Steven [Gerrard] was aggrieved not to get a free-kick but the referee was fair to both sides. It wasn’t one-sided.”

  • French manager Laurent Blanc on splitting the points:

“We have mixed feelings, but I think the English feel the same. England had a very good 20 minutes, but paradoxically we got back in the match after we conceded. They caused us problems, but we got a deserved equalizer and in the second half we could have scored a second, even if there weren’t too many chances.”

  • Hodgson, with a little more on his defense:

“The French, as we know and as most people who watch them know, flood the midfield. They try to drag your defenders out of position. It was very important that our midfielders stuck to their task. The two central ones did very well, and the wide ones deserve to be mentioned as well.”

  • And, finally, Hodgson on putting it all in perspective:

“Excuse me if I’m a little circumspect, but I’ve had three games. You don’t become a good team in three games and ten training sessions. The French have now gone 22 games unbeaten, if I’m not mistaken. Hopefully we’ll just get better when we get players back from injury and Wayne Rooney back.”

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