England left itself needing to win its final European Under-21 championship Group B game to avoid crashing out of the tournament after stumbling to another draw against Ukraine.
Stuart Pearce's Young Lions failed to improve upon a disappointing display against Spain, despite playing arguably an inferior opponent at Herning's MCH Arena.
Danny Welbeck missed England's best chance when put clean through by Daniel Sturridge, who also hit the crossbar, but Ukraine might have won it, with Frankie Fielding keeping out Roman Zozulya's late effort.
The result meant Pearce's side could afford nothing less than victory in this weekend's clash with Czech Republic in order to reach the semi-finals.
A win would have left it needing only a draw to progress and the signs looked promising for the opening five minutes.
However, captain Michael Mancienne - retained despite his performance against Spain - was then sidestepped too easily by Denys Garmash, whose 20-yard shot was deflected over.
Pearce's team failed to heed the warning and Fielding spilt Yevhen Konoplyanka's 12th-minute 25-yard attempt, with Ryan Bertrand only just beating Maxym Biliy to the rebound.
England could barely get into its opponent's half before surrendering the ball, while Ukraine showed just why it had gone through qualifying unbeaten.
After Konoplyanka was booked for tripping the recalled Jack Rodwell, Yaroslav Rakitskiy drilled a free-kick wide.
Pearce became increasingly irate on the touchline, screaming at the anonymous Danny Rose to attack the Ukraine right-back.
Oleg Golodyuk was booked for diving but England was arguably employing even more desperate tactics, pumping wasteful long balls forward to an ineffective Welbeck.
The only real moments of skill had come from Sturridge, who finally abandoned his right wing position in the 33rd minute to pounce on a bouncing ball and unleash an unstoppable 30-yard half-volley that crashed off the bar.
Biliy became the latest Ukraine player booked but he was soon the victim when Rodwell went through the back of him and was also yellow-carded.
England finished the first half on top, while Sturridge drilled a fierce free-kick too close to Kanibolotskiy just after the break.
But Ukraine soon settled again and Artem Kravets flicked Konoplyanka's corner into the side-netting.
Another moment of magic from Sturridge almost changed that in the 54th minute, his incredible volleyed pass sending Welbeck clean through only for the striker to blaze wide.
Mancienne was then allowed to carry the ball forward and drill a shot just past the post seconds before Rodwell and Rose were hauled off for Henri Lansbury and Scott Sinclair with the hour mark approaching.
The pair made an instant impact, Lansbury pouncing on a loose ball and feeding Sinclair, who was let down by a heavy touch.
He then earned a needless booking after finishing a move long after being flagged offside.
Yaroslav Rakitskiy was booked for tripping Lansbury before the impressive Konoplyanka was surprisingly replaced by Andriy Yarmolenko.
Phil Jones was stepping out of defence to good effect, while Garmash forced a smart parry from Fielding midway through the half.
Ukraine then threw on Zozulya for Kravets with 20 minutes remaining.
The new man nearly proved an inspired substitution when he glanced Bohdan Butko's cross wide, while Sinclair also headed Welbeck's centre off target.
Sturridge had a shot blocked as England, like against Spain, committed more men forward late on but Ukraine knew a draw was even more damaging for it than for its opponent.
And it almost broke the deadlock eight minutes from time when Jones' first error of the tournament let in Zozulya, but Fielding produced another fine stop.
Lansbury drilled wide from 20 yards, while Sturridge's 30-yard blast was tipped round the post by Kanibolotskiy, who also kept out Welbeck's header from a corner.
Mancienne was finally withdrawn a minute from time for Fabrice Muamba before Welbeck had another sniff in the final minute, with Jones booked in stoppage-time.