England 1-1 France: 5 Positives From A Hard-Earned Draw

England did little wrong against a gifted French side. Here are some of the positives to emerge from the Euro 2012 encounter.

1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's Unlikely Start

International football holds few secrets these days, with players familiar with most their opponents - whether through reputation, television or playing with them in the melting pot that is the modern game at club level. However, Arsenal fans have barely seen the 18 year-old Oxlade-Chamberlain so what hope did the French camp have? The youngster was tricky and unpredictable from the beginning, unsettling the French defense with his pace and positivity. In a defensive line-up, he provided a real spark and, having played comparatively little football over the last year, he has come to the tournament fresh and raring to go. If some feared that his inclusion would be similarly shambolic to Sven's 2006 inclusion of club-mate Theo Walcott, then those concerns have already been put to bed by confident a display that belied his limited experience. His comfort on either flank meant he was also able to switch with Milner throughout the game, popping up to terrorise both full-backs. He faded from the game as it went on and was rightly replaced with Jermaine Defoe as he began to flag, but his inclusion from the start here will have been a boost to his International career for the immediate future - and with it England's chances in this tournament.
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Contributor

A regular film and video games contributor for What Culture, Robert also writes reviews and features for The Daily Telegraph, GamesIndustry.biz and The Big Picture Magazine as well as his own Beames on Film blog. He also has essays and reviews in a number of upcoming books by Intellect.

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