ENGLAND has still not won an opening fixture at a European Championships after being denied a deserved victory by an injury-time equaliser by Russia.
Roy Hodgon’s men looked like breaking its drough at Euro 2016 in Marseille leading 1-0 in the dying minutes thanks to Eric Dier’s super free-kick with 17 minutes left.
But with two minutes of added time played, Vasili Berezutski climbed above the diminutive Danny Rose to put a looping header beyond the despairing Joe Hart.
It was an equaliser the Russians barely deserved after being dominated for long periods but England’s profligacy in front of goal, especially in the first half proved costly.
“When you concede with a minute left, it is a bitter disappointment,” Hodgson admitted.
“After one dodgy spell at the start of the second half, if we take away that 15 minutes, we were in total control.
“I would have been happy with 1-0. At least it wasn’t a glaring error but we go away with a draw rather than a victory.
“I thought we played well. It feels like defeat because we were preparing to celebrate a victory and we don’t have that possibility now.”
Wales had earlier got off to the perfect start in its first major tournament since 1958, with a 2-1 defeat of Slovakia.
Gareth Bale opened the scoring with a free-kick and after Slovakia’s Ondrej Duda punished passive Welsh defending to equalise, Hal Robson-Kanu stabbed home a winner with nine minutes remaining.
The Welsh top Group B ahead of the clash against England on Thursday night (AEST).
In Group A Switzerland defeated 10-man Albania 1-0.
In tonight’s fixtures Northern Ireland plays Poland, Germany goes up against Ukraine and Turkey play Croatia.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.