France midfielder Alou Diarra emerged at the top of the Castrol EDGE Index for the opening 1-1 draw with UEFA EURO 2012 Group D rivals England in Donetsk.
The tall Olympique de Marseille player made his presence felt in the centre of the pitch for France in what was a tightly contested meeting with their old rivals. His passing rate was 82% – 37 from 45 attempted – and he competed manfully with his counterparts in the England midfield, covering 9.21km and looking to carry the ball forward whenever possible.
Joleon Lescott was second on the list after an impressive outing in the heart of the England defence. Besides getting behind Diarra to head England in front with his first international goal, Lescott gave a disciplined display with some important blocks and clearances. Third place went to Patrice Evra who completed 72 passes, more than any player in a blue shirt save for Samir Nasri.
Castrol Edge Index: France v England
1. Alou Diarra (FRA) 9.00
2. Joleon Lescott (ENG) 8.97
3. Patrice Evra (FRA) 8.66
4. Karim Benzema (FRA) 8.40
5. Scott Parker (ENG) 8.36
1 – Lescott’s 30th-minute header from a Steven Gerrard free-kick was his first England goal in 17 appearances. It was also England’s only attempt on target.
5 – Karim Benzema had more attempts on target than any other player.
7 – England have failed to win their first match in seven EURO final tournaments dating back to 1980.
22 – For France, this was their 22nd match unbeaten.
89 – Two French defenders, Evra and Adil Rami, shared the best pass completion rate of 89%.
Alou Diarra (FRA): I am very motivated; I want to have a great campaign here with my country and experience great moments like in 2006 with the national team.
Scott Parker (ENG): It was a difficult game in difficult conditions in terms of the temperature, quite a slow game against a very good France team.