Ukraine: Manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that England did better than expected by qualifying top of Group D at Euro 2012.
Tuesday’s 1-0 win overUkraine, coupled with France’s 2-0 defeat by Sweden, meant England won their group and now face Italy in the quarter-finals.
“Getting out of the group partly exceeded my expectations,” Hodgson told media.
“For us to get seven points with two victories and a draw probably exceeds everyone’s expectations.”
The 64-year-old continued: “We’re very pleased to have won the group. It wasn’t an easy group to win.
“Ukrainehave very good players,Francewere undefeated in 23 games, and then there’s Sweden who ended that run. But we deserve it.”
A second-half header from the returning Wayne Rooney sealed England’s passage to the last eight as group winners following a hard-fought win over the co-hosts in a Donbass Arena in Donetsk dominated by home support.
“It was always going to be a tough game,” said Hodgson.
“We kept getting updates from the Sweden game and we knew France were losing, plus the fans were all behind Ukraine. It took a great effort from us to keep our shape and discipline.
“We thank the supporters, both the brave 4,000 here plus the people back home. All the vibes have been extremely positive, having a good feel-good factor. That rubs off on the team.”
Hodgson praised goalscorer Rooney, who was playing his first game in the tournament after serving a two-match ban for his sending off in the final qualifying game against Montenegro.