England are hopeful Theo Walcott will be available to play some part in the critical Group D game against Ukraine on Tuesday after the winger was forced out of training on Sunday complaining of tightness in his hamstring.
The Arsenal midfielder, who scored an equaliser and set up Danny Welbeck for England's winner during a decisive half‑hour against the Swedes in Kiev, retired for treatment as a precaution and will be monitored by the team's medical staff ahead of the game in Donetsk. He will travel to Ukraine with the squad on Monday afternoon but, with James Milner likely to be retained on the right of midfield, is expected at best to start the match against the co-hosts on the bench.
"Unfortunately Theo had a slight setback in training, and that's the major concern with him," said Roy Hodgson. "He felt the hamstring that, of course, kept him out for so long at the end of last season and we were slightly concerned about that when he came to us. But we've been lucky that nothing occurred with that [since then].
"We had to take the precaution of taking him from the field because he felt a slight tightness there. Really, whether he's a real contender for a starting position will depend to some extent on what the medical people can tell me and how much guarantee they can give me that, if I do start him in the game, he won't be leaving the game after five minutes forcing us to have only 13 men rather than the 14 I rather count on."
There is relief that the winger did not sustain new damage on Sunday to the hamstring he had initially injured during Arsenal's goalless draw against Chelsea on 21 April. That strain made Walcott unavailable until his appearance as a substitute in the final game of the season against Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion. Regardless of Walcott's fitness, the England manager would have been tempted to retain the industrious Milner on the right in the final group match given that a draw would be enough to secure a place in the quarter‑finals.
Hodgson will finalise his side's preparations in Krakow on Monday after Uefa requested neither team train on the turf at the Donbass Arena after the pitch was waterlogged and damaged during France's victory against Ukraine on Friday. Andriy Shevchenko suffered a second kick to his left knee in that match and is doubtful for the match on Tuesday with fluid on the joint. The 35-year-old is desperate to prove his fitness for what could be his final international appearance.
Shevchenko scored both goals in the 2-1 victory against Sweden and remains key to his country's prospects. He is now undergoing treatment with the Ukraine team doctor, Leonid Mironov, on an injury that would normally necessitate two or three days' rest. "Andriy suffered a kick to his knee during the second half against Sweden and then another kick in the same area against France," said the team spokesman, Oleksandr Glyvynskiy. "He was unable to train on Sunday and is seeing the doctor now and having treatment. We hope he can still take part but, I repeat, he is doubtful."
Ukraine need to beat England in order to reach the last eight, with Shevchenko due to retire from the national set-up after the finals. "He is a bit injured," said his team-mate Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. "I don't think it is that bad, but he is a very important player for us so let's hope he can play. He's our top scorer so it would be a shame if he can't play."
Andriy Voronin said of the match against England: "I think it is the biggest game in the country's history because it is the last chance to go to the quarter-final."