Ukraine ended England’s perfect record in 2024 European Championship qualifying after Oleksandr Zinchenko’s first-half goal helped secure a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Zinchenko put Ukraine ahead with a side-footed finish in the 26th minute before Kyle Walker equalized with his first goal for England, on his 77th appearance, in the 41st.
The Ukrainian fans celebrated as if it was a win after the final whistle, with the players applauding the supporters in return. The team is playing all its “home” games in Poland because of the war against Russia.
“An amazing result for us. England are one of the best teams in the world,” Zinchenko said. “The atmosphere was unbelievable. It felt like we played at home. I really hope very soon we can play at home.”
England had won its first four qualifiers and still has a firm grip on Group C with 13 points. Ukraine is second on seven points having played one game fewer.
Ukraine took the lead on a quick counterattack as Yukhym Konoplya received the ball on the fight flank and squared the ball for Zinchenko, who got away from his Arsenal teammate Declan Rice to score inside the near post.
It was Ukraine’s only shot on target in the game.
Harry Kane created the equalizer for England with a superb ball over the top of the defense to pick out Walker as he raced into the area, and the fullback controlled the ball with one touch before picking his spot to beat goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan.
“It’s just a relief,” Walker said about getting his first goal. “It’s been on my mind. But now I can tick that off, I’ve done it, and I’ve finally got an England goal.”
There were few quality chances in the second half but Bukayo Saka hit the crossbar with a curling shot from distance, and then had penalty appeals waved away after another shot was blocked by a defender’s arm.
Harry Maguire had a chance to score the winner in the 85th when the ball fell to him in the box after a free kick, but he was booked for a foul after lunging in and only making contact with Bushchan.
The game was played in the same stadium where Ukrainian heavyweight boxer Oleksandr Usyk defeated British challenger Daniel Dubois two weeks ago.
Ukraine lost 2-0 to England at Wembley in March, but coach Serhiy Rebrov has now overseen two wins and a draw in qualifying since taking over in June.
“The players (produced) a very good celebration for the people,” Rebrov said. “There is a very good atmosphere inside the stadium. No-one wants to go home.”