One of England’s finest 21st century showings at an international tournament ended in immensely frustrating fashion, with Russia sneaking a much undeserved equaliser in injury time of their Group B bout.
Veteran centre-back Vasili Berezutski nodded in from close range to tie the game up at 1-1, much to the disappointment of the Three Lions, who dominated proceedings throughout.
The result means Roy Hodgson’s men will likely require maximum points from the next fixtures against Wales and Slovakia if they are to advance to the knockout stage as group winners, but despite the disheartening nature of the scoreline, England can take solace from the fact that failing to win the opening match hasn’t hindered those expected to go far in previous Euros editions.
Spain tied 1-1 with Italy in their first match in the 2012 competition; they would meet again in the final, which La Roja won 4-0.
Portugal fell 1-0 to Germany in their opening fixture too, meaning of the four semi-finalists, only Die Mannschaft started their campaign with a win.
Four years earlier it was a similar tale, with only two of the semi-finalists – Spain and Germany – starting their tournaments in victorious fashion. Shock last four protagonists Turkey and Russia both lost in convincingly in their 2008 curtain raisers, 2-0 and 4-1 to Portugal and Spain respectively.
The same number of semi-finalists managed to start Euro 2004 in triumphant fashion too. Greece, the winners, and the semi-final foe they overcame, the Czech Republic prevailed in 2-1 wins, but Portugal and the Netherlands failed to follow suit.
The former fell against Greece, who they would meet in the showpiece where a similar result was recorded, while the Dutch drew 1-1 against Germany.
In total, it means that just five of the previous 12 Euros semi-finalists have started the tournament with a win.
A semi-final appearance would be considered a major success for the Three Lions and punters shouldn’t be deterred from backing them to do well in light of their opening game setback.