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Euro 2012: England beat Ukraine to qualify top of Group D and will now face Italy in the quarter-final

Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring during the Euro 2012 Group D match at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

England have qualified for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after a 1-0 win over Ukraine.

Roy Hodgson's side topped Group D after Sweden beat France 2-0, meaning the Three Lions will avoid World Cup holders Spain and play Group C runners-up Italy in Kiev on Sunday night.

After a nerve-wracking first 45 minutes which saw Ukraine dominate possession and chances, Wayne Rooney put England ahead just after half-time with a close range header.

Wayne Rooney puts England 1-0 up against Ukraine. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

It was the Manchester United striker's first goal at a major tournament since 2004 and came in his first appearance in Euro 2012 after serving a two match suspension.

Wayne Rooney tries to control the ball against Ukraine. Credit: PA Wire

Ukraine will feel aggrieved not to have equalised just after the hour when Marko Devic's attempt was cleared off the line by John Terry. Television replays showed the ball had crossed the line.

John Terry makes the clearance though television replays show the ball had crossed the line. Credit: PA Wire

Rooney's goal and France's failure to beat Sweden means that England will play Cesare Prandelli's side on Sunday. If the Three Lions win they will face either Greece or Germany in the semi-finals.

Footballers took to Twitter to send their congratulations to the England squad:

England manager Roy Hodgson admitted his side got "a bit of luck" during the Ukraine game, saying:

They (the players) have been really good from the start. If someone said we'd win the group I don't think they'd have many takers.

Most people didn't think we'd get out of the group. We've won it on points instead of goal difference as well.

This was an away game with a capital 'A': there were 60,000 people in and only 4,000 brave England fans. When we needed a bit of luck, when the ball may have crossed the line, we got a bit of luck and went on to win the match.

– roy hodgson

England captain Steven Gerrard said he believes his side are slowly hitting form at the right time, in an interview with ITV1 he said:

It was a difficult group and the idea was to try and win it. No-one believed in us at the start but we're gaining momentum at the right time.

I don't think tonight's performance was fantastic, but we stuck together, got the job done and won 1-0 against a good team.

We've been criticised in the past maybe for not turning up, under-performing and we can take that, we're man enough. But you saw a reaction.

When you get criticised it's not nice and you have to react by playing better and I think that's what we did.

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