England: Ukraine's infamous 'ghost goal' at Euro 2012 made FIFA rule change 'a necessity'

  • Kobe Tong

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England vs Ukraine has all the makings of a fascinating match-up at Euro 2020.

England vs Ukraine

The Three Lions enter their quarter-final clash at the Stadio Olimpico as huge favourites to reach the final four, but everybody knows that Andriy Shevchenko's men could make for a costly banana skin.

Besides, Ukraine have made for tough opponents for England in the past, most recently holding the Wembley-based nation to consecutive draws during qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

England do boast a 57% win rate overall, claiming four victories from their seven encounters, but the blueprint is there for the Ukrainians to upset the applecart during Saturday night's clash.

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Remembering Euro 2012 clash

However, Gareth Southgate's men can at least lay claim to having gotten the better of Ukraine when the nations last locked horns at a major international tournament.

In fact, not only did England put Ukraine to the sword with a 1-0 win during the group stages of Euro 2012, but they did so in their own back garden.

Ukraine hosted the second-most recent European Championships alongside Poland and their final group clash, played against the Three Lions, took place at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

The history books will tell you that England secured a 1-0 win courtesy of Wayne Rooney's close-range header upon his return from suspension, but things weren't quite as clear cut as that.

Ukraine's 'ghost goal' remembered

After all, those who remember tuning in to the game will recall that Ukraine had a 'ghost goal' ruled out with Marko Devic appearing to score what looked to be a perfectly legitimate strike.


Devic's one-on-one strike deflected off Joe Hart and towards the empty England net, only for John Terry to hook the ball away. However, replays showed that the ball had, in fact, crossed the line.

It's worth noting that Artem Milevskyi had been offside in the build-up to the 'ghost goal', but with the linesman failing to raise his flag, there's no reason to suggest he would have been penalised.

In other words, in a pre-VAR age where goal-line technology was just on the horizon, Ukraine were robbed of a goal that could have inspired them to qualification for the knockout rounds. Check it out:

Reaction from UEFA and FIFA chiefs

Uefa's chief refereeing officer at the time, none other than Pierluigi Collina, openly admitted after the game that Ukraine had been denied a perfectly legitimate goal.

According to the Telegraph, the legendary referee remarked: "The ball crossed the line. That was unfortunate. It would have been better not to have it."

Even the incumbent FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, reacted to the 'ghost goal' by tweeting: "After last night's match #GLT (goal-line technology) is no longer an alternative but a necessity."


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By this point, the calls for goal-line technology were growing louder and louder with the 2014 FIFA World Cup proving the first major international tournament to wheel out the system we know today.

At the time, England fans were feeling smug after being robbed by a far more egregious decision when Frank Lampard had a legitimate goal against Germany denied by officials in 2010.

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However, supporters of the Three Lions will be hoping for no such shenanigans when they reunite with the Ukrainians almost a decade down the line.

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