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Ukraine coach lauds fans for key role in England draw

WROCLAW, Poland - Ukraine manager Serhiy Rebrov praised his players for a tireless performance to grab a 1-1 draw against England in their Euro qualifier on Saturday in front of tens of thousands of supporters waving flags and roaring their team on.

Ukraine struck first against Group C leaders England thanks to Oleksandr Zinchenko's first-half strike and defender Kyle Walker levelled just before the break.

"i want to say it's a pleasure for the players, they made a good celebration for the people and it was a very good atmosphere in the stadium and you can see they don't want to go home," Rebrov told reporters.

Ukraine have not played at home since Russia launched an invasion of the country in February 2022 -- which Moscow calls a "special military operation" -- and the crowd noise inside the Tarczynski Arena in Poland was deafening at times.

Exhausted Ukraine players applauded their supporters who chanted and waved flags for the full 90 minutes and celebrated the draw like a victory when the referee blew the final whistle.

"This is a big responsibility and I'm very proud," Rebrov said of his role as manager.

"I'm glad we gave emotion for our people because I know that millions of Ukrainians will be watching this game and the players showed the character of the Ukrainians and in this period of time that's very important."

Rebrov said his defenders restricted England to a handful of quality chances especially after the first half in which he described the visitors as strong.

He also called the support from fans as fuel for the team which helped them earn a valuable point against the group leaders towards their goal of qualify for Euro 2024.

"You know our circumstances and we have to play abroad," Rebrov said. "The atmosphere was amazing and it motivated the boys a lot. When you play teams like England you want to be fuelled by this fan support."

England lead the group with 13 points from five games followed by Ukraine on seven from four. The draw with Ukraine was the first time England dropped points in their qualifying campaign. REUTERS