KIEV — England received a goal from Wayne Rooney in his Euro 2012 debut in beating Ukraine 1-0 on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals as Group 'D' winners along with France while eliminating the angry Ukrainians from the tournament.
Rooney celebrated his return to action following a two-game suspension by scoring the only goal of the match in the 48th minute — though Ukraine were robbed of a goal in the 62nd minute in Donetsk.
England topped Group 'D' with seven points and will next meet Italy in the quarters on Sunday in Kiev. The French — 2-0 losers to Sweden — took second place with four points and will square off with reigning world and European champions Spain in the final eight on Saturday in Donetsk.
"I think we have been really good from the start. If someone had said we would win the group there wouldn't be too many takers beforehand. Many thought we wouldn't get out of the group," said England coach Roy Hodgson.
Rooney gave England the lead in the 48th minute, heading in Steven Gerrard's twice-deflected cross from the right side at the far post.
The co-hosts appeared to be robbed of a goal in the 62nd minute as Marko Devic's counter attack shot was deflected by England keeper Joe Hart looping towards the goal-line, but England's John Terry cleared the ball at the line.
The goal-line assistant did not signal a goal and the referee allowed play to continue. But television replays showed the ball had fully crossed the line before Terry's clearance.
Ukraine joined the fate of fellow co-hosts Poland in being eliminated in the group stage along with Sweden with three points.
In Kiev, Zlatan Ibrahomvic scored a stunner as Sweden exited Euro 2012 in style with a 2-0 victory over France, who made the quarters even though their unbeaten run ended after 23 games.
The AC Milan star volleyed home a cross in midair from 14m — a top candidate for goal of the tournament — and Sebastian Larsson struck in stoppage time to salvage some pride for the Swedes.
The other quarterfinal pairings have the Czech Republic facing Portugal today in Warsaw and Germany playing Greece tomorrow in Gdansk.
The other teams eliminated were Russia, co-hosts Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Croatia and Ireland. — dpa