England 1-1 Russia: Vasili Berezutski cancels out Eric Dier's stunning second-half free-kick to deny Roy's boys three points
- Adam Lallana and Chris Smalling enjoyed early chances for England but both efforts were saved by Igor Akinfeev
- Despite England's impressive first-half performance and dominance from the start, the score was 0-0 at the break
- England eventually found their goal when Dele Alli fired in a wonderful free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box
- A last-gasp Vasili Berezutski header denied England a precious three points as Russia managed to nick a draw
- Earlier in the day, Gareth Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu helped Wales to a 2-1 win over Slovakia in Group B's opener
In the end it seemed desperately unfortunate. To an English nation and to well-behaved fans badly requiring a lift after a dispiriting day of disorder in the Old Port of Marseilles, the denouement was cruel.
England had dominated the game; they were by far the better side. And yet, they reverted to type, throwing away a lead and allowing a mediocre side back into the game.
They made similar mistakes in Brazil two years ago, yet for much of this game they looked better than that. Still, two minutes into added time, leading 1-0 and having seemingly defended a Russian corner well, they allowed one more lofted ball into their area. At the far post rising above Danny Rose was Vasili Berezutski, whose header looped agonisingly over Joe Hart.
Vasili Berezutski (not pictured) headed the ball over Joe Hart and into the net with 92 minutes on the clock to salvage a draw for Russia
Russia captain Berezutski (right) pumps his fists in celebration after breaking England hearts in stoppage time at the end of the match
Jack Wilshere, a late substitute for Wayne Rooney at the Stade Velodrome, reacts after England conceded a late goal to draw with Russia
Dele Alli (right) and Hart (left) react after conceding a goal very late on in their opening match of Euro 2016 at the Stade Velodrome
Eric Dier (second left) watches his free-kick fly past goalkeeper Akinfeev to give England the lead after 73 minutes in Marseille
Dier (centre) is mobbed by his team-mates after sending a wonderful free-kick into the back of the Russia net to put England ahead
With the world watching, Dier slides on his knees at the corner flag as Tottenham team-mate Alli joins him to celebrate the goal
Tottenham team-mates Danny Rose (left) and Dier celebrate after the latter's free-kick flew into the back of the net with just 17 minutes left
As the small knot of Russian fans celebrated, the overwhelming majority at the Stade Velodrome emitted a collective sigh.
Just when England seemed to be shaking off old habits, playing with style and creativity, here they were back to their worst. And in truth, they paid because they didn't exploit the dominance they had enjoyed.
England don't do victories in opening games of major tournaments. They have never done so at the European Championship and the last time they did at a World Cup was 10 years ago.
So, after the debacle of Brazil, it was vitally important to make an early impression here. That they did, impressively in the first half, with a degree of flair and creativity not often associated with the national team. And when they lagged in the second half, they found reserves of energy to score that goal their earlier performance had deserved.
It came from a free-kick by Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier in the 73rd minute, driven past Igor Akinfeev from the edge of the area. An unlikely source, perhaps, but if Dier, Adam Lallana, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose can continue as they started, with Wayne Rooney at the hub of it all in midfield, they may yet make more than a fleeting impression on this tournament.
Though there would be some popular clamour for Jamie Vardy, few would violently disagree with the team Hodgson picked. It blended youth with experience and crucially, unlike the discarded diamond, had players broadly in their best position.
That included Rooney, who is at his best deeper in midfield now, even if he hasn't played there for England.
This was a Russia team enormously weakened with the heart of their players missing through injury. Experienced hands Igor Denisov, Yuri Zhirkov and Real Madrid's Denis Cheryshev were already missing before Alan Dzagoev, their attacking midfield force, broke a metatarsal last month. Even captain Roman Shishkin was relegated to the bench because of injury.
England came close to taking an early lead when Adam Lallana saw an effort tipped over the bar by Russia goalkeeper Akinfeev
England's players hold their hands behind their heads in disbelief after watching Akinfeev tip Lallana's shot just over the crossbar
Chris Smalling was the next England player to see an effort saved after the centre back fired a free header straight at the goalkeeper
Gary Cahill thwarts a Russian attack as he slides in on forward Fedor Smolov early in the match at Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Harry Kane found the back of the net midway through the first half but the linesman's flag was up, with the striker deemed to be offside
It also pitted the second oldest squad at Euro 2016 against the second youngest, England. And it showed. Once the early nerves were conquered — one kick out from Joe Hart embarrassingly rebounded off the back of an unaware Chris Smalling — England looked impressive: full of energy, skill and attacking intent.
None more so than Rooney. The midfield position suited him perfectly. Suddenly, England's most technically gifted player was receiving the ball the most and dictating play.
There were echoes of Paul Scholes at his best; if only he'd been allowed to play here for England.
There were some wonderful lofted passes to open up play and one to Walker on seven minutes had the Tottenham man nodding the ball over Georgi Schennikov before finding Lallana.
His sweet strike was well pushed over by Akinfeev. It showed the aggressive attacking intent which Hodgson has sought to encourage and seemed to bode well.
Akinfeev was called on again, albeit for a more routine save, when Smalling headed Harry Kane's corner firmly goalwards but too central. However, the succession of corners England were winning in the opening exchanges demonstrated their command of the game.
Russia were quite content to sit deep and allow England to make the running. Yet a Rose foul on 18 minutes allowed them their first opportunity from a free-kick deep in England's half. Oleg Shatov's free kick was met by Sergei Ignashevich's head but Hart was well placed to save.
Raheem Sterling desperately stretched to get on the end of a cross as England searched for their first goal of the European Championship
Akinfeev (second right) collects the ball to alleviate the pressure after England centre back Cahill (second left) fired an effort goalwards
Russia goalkeeper Akinfeev, who plays his club football for CSKA Moscow, comes flying off his line to punch the ball away from danger
Alli, starting alongside Dier and Wayne Rooney in England's midfield, looks for a team-mate as he takes a throw-in during the first half
Tottenham midfielder Dier (left) puts in a crunching, well-timed tackle on Aleksandr Kokorin during a goalless first half in Marseille
England, though, were even beginning to show signs of panache. Walker and Rose were excellent and Lallana a constant menace to Russia. Sterling backheeled to Rose on the left who drove across goal, just too far in front of Alli for his Tottenham team-mate to touch it in.
A lovely move on 22 minutes, started by Dier from the back, saw Walker, Alli and Lallana combine passes to cut straight through Russia and set up the Liverpool man. Through on goal, Lallana shot just wide. Had he scored, it would surely have been one of the goals of the tournament.
Two minutes later, Lallana then fed Sterling, sprinting away on goal, and only the well-timed, last-ditch tackle of Igor Smolnikov prevented him getting his shot away.
England were even playing out from the back well, though it made a huge difference having Rooney there to run the game from deep, and when Russia did briefly threaten, it was the captain who got back to stick in a foot and clear.
England manager Roy Hodgson will have liked what he saw in the first half despite both sides leaving the pitch goalless after 45 minutes
Captain Rooney fires a free-kick goalwards, but it finds the top of the net and Russia survive another Three Lions onslaught
England defender Rose stays strong to hold off the challenge of Russia's Artem Dzjuba, with the score level at 0-0 in Marseille
Kane looks for a pass as England desperately search for a way through in their opening Euro 2016 match against Russia on Saturday
Rose (right) braces himself for the block as Kokorin fires a shot towards Hart's goal with the scores goalless in the south of France
England and Manchester City goalkeeper Hart dives low to his left and is grateful to see the Russian shot flash past the post
Not that he wasn't a goal threat. On 35 minutes, Alli appeared to be disappearing down a blind alley when he somehow managed to bamboozle three Russian defenders at once, break free and find Rooney, who struck powerfully only for Akinfeev to save. England's only real concern by half-time was that they had not made their dominance and 58 per cent share of possession pay in terms of goals.
Unsurprisingly, a half-time intervention from Russian coach Leonid Slutsky saw his side emerge somewhat better for the second half.
With Rooney caught in possession, Aleksandr Kokorin advanced dangerously down the right on 48 minutes and crossed for Artem Dzyuba. By then Rooney had got back to clear inside the six-yard box, with Cahill to help. Even in his bad moments, he was proving good.
Ignashevich was showing signs of tiredness, though, with a lazy kick at Kane on 54 minutes. Rooney lined up the free kick but his shot curled on to the roof of the net.
Rooney had a marvellous chance to put England ahead when the ball fell to him unmarked in the middle of the Russia 18-yard area
Rooney (left) found a way through the body of two defenders but Akinfeev produced a remarkable save to keep his clean sheet intact
Tottenham's impressive young midfielder Dier connects with the ball, which then flew past Akinfeev to find the back of the Russia net
Dier slides on his knees in the corner of the Stade Velodrome after netting the opening goal of England's Euro 2016 campaign
With England close to securing three points, Russia provided late drama when they equalised through Berezutski (not pictured)
And though Kokorin's shot was blocked by Rose on 58 minutes, the chief threat to Hart came from an inexplicable and wayward header from Dier, towards his own goal, which had the England keeper stretching to tip over on 59 minutes.
And even though England were not as dominant as previously, enduring a slower period of the game, there was still little real threat from Russia. That said, the invigorating start had diminished. The game was ebbing. In losing their intensity, England invited Russia's first real moment of quality from the game, a curling shot from Fedor Smolov just wide of Hart's post on 63 minutes.
Yet, both teams were demonstrating fatigue, Russia from having had to chase the ball so much; England from the energy they had applied early on. Sterling continued to get outside his man frequently yet his delivery was too often awry. England's goal threat seemed to be diminishing when Dier struck. But the cruel end was to deny them.
England and Chelsea defender Cahill lies dejected on the turf in Marseille after Hodgson's side were cruelly denied three points in France
There were unsavoury scenes after the final whistle as fans from England and Russia clashed in the stands at the Stade Velodrome
Dier, Hart and Rooney sing the English national anthem before the start of their opening Euro 2016 match against Russia on Saturday
Huge England and Russia shirts are held on the pitch as the players line up for the national anthems ahead of their opening match
With the nerves surely beginning to kick in, England's players warm up inside the picturesque Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France
Despite much aggravation outside the stadium in the build-up to the match, England fans inside Stade Velodrome were in high spirits