England made a solid start to their Euro 2012 campaign with a 1-1 draw against much-fancied France.
Joleon Lescott came up from the back to nod Roy Hodgson's men into a first-half lead from a Steven Gerrard free-kick but Samir Nasri levelled nine minutes later. Both sides appeared relatively content with a point as the game slowed in the second half in sweltering heat.
England went agonisingly close after 15 minutes when James Milner latched onto Ashley Young's pass and rounded Hugo Lloris, but he then slipped slightly as he shot and could only steer the ball wide of the unguarded net.
Nasri had shot wide just before that chance and Yohan Cabaye was the next Frenchman to try his luck but Joe Hart got down well to keep out his shot.
And England then got the breakthrough on the half-hour when Gerrard whipped over a lovely free-kick from the right and Lescott got in behind Alou Diarra to head home from close range.
France almost responded quickly but Hart did well to keep out a thumping header from Diarra, who then nodded wide when the ball came back into the middle.
But the French did level when Franck Ribery laid the ball back to Nasri (39) and his precise shot from just outside the area sneaked inside Hart's right-hand post.
The second-half began fairly quietly until Karim Benzema tested Hart with a powerful shot from distance and Glen Johnson blazed an effort over the bar soon afterwards.
Hart then had to be alert to keep out a Ribery drive at his near post and England decided to freshen things up with the introduction of Jermain Defoe and Jordan Henderson.
France came closest to a winner, Cabaye unleashing a fierce volley which deflected off Danny Welbeck and flew just wide, before Hart blocked Benzema's long-range shot in the final seconds.
England coach Roy Hodgson was pleased with his side's defensive performance and felt they could have taken all three points.
"France don't panic in the final third so you have to be very disciplined in your defending," he said.
"To finish 1-1 and ask the questions of them that we did, I've got to be happy.
"We kept them at bay and there weren't that many situations in front of our goal where I was panicking in any way.
"And there were a few situations in their third where we would have scored a second goal with a bit of luck."
Hodgson refused to criticise the display of referee Nicola Rizzoli.
"The referee did OK. It's foolish to start commenting on the referee's performance," he said.
"Sometimes you'll get a bit of luck, sometimes not.
"I know that Steven (Gerrard) was aggrieved not to get a free-kick, but the referee was fair to both sides. It wasn't one-sided."
Nasri, who was voted man of the match, added: "It is a big honour but I would have preferred to win the game. We didn't lose and that is the important thing.
"I am confident about our possibilities of going through to the quarter-final."
Of the goal, he said: "(Franck) Ribery gave me the ball back and the England defence was really low (sitting back). Joe Hart knows I open my body up so I did the opposite."