Euro 2012 Group D: Ukraine 0-2 France | inside World Soccer

Euro 2012 Group D: Ukraine 0-2 France

[Saturday, June 16, 2012 ]

France ended a six-year drought for a win at a major tournament with a 2-0 win over Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine in a storm-delayed Group D match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.

France player Jérémy Ménez scores the opening goal past Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov
France player Jérémy Ménez scores the opening goal past Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov

Photo: AP

Moments before kickoff, the rain intensified as about 49,000 soaked Ukrainians gave a searing rendition of their national anthem after a clap of thunder had interrupted France's "La Marseillaise".

The massive storm continued as the game started, and Dutch referee Björn Kuipers had no choice but to lead the players off the pitch after only four minutes.

When crackles of lightning lit up the sky, Kuipers inspected the pitch with UEFA officials and with the groundstaff working overtime to soak up the surface water he declared it fit to play on.

The French came out and controlled proceedings despite the delay and they had the ball in the net as early as the 16th minute but Jérémy Ménez had strayed offside to receive Franck Ribéry's slide-rule pass.

But Ménez finally found a way through in the 53rd minute, latching onto Karim Benzema's pass before cutting inside and slotting a fine strike inside Andriy Pyatov's near post.

France doubled their advantage less than four minutes later with Benzema playing a superbly weighted pass that allowed Yohan Cabaye to run on and finish with an angled shot.


Ukraine: Andriy Pyatov; Oleh Husyev, Taras Mykhalyk, Yevhen Khacheridi, Yevhen Selin; Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Serhiy Nazarenko (Artem Milevskiy, 59); Andriy Yarmolenko (Oleksandr Aliyev, 68), Andriy Voronin (Marko Dević, 46), Yevhen Konoplyanka; Andriy Shevchenko

France: Hugo Lloris; Mathieu Debuchy, Philippe Mexès, Adil Rami, Gaël Clichy; Alou Diarra; Yohan Cabaye (Yann M'Vila, 68), Samir Nasri; Jérémy Ménez (Marvin Martin, 73), Karim Benzema (Olivier Giroud, 76), Franck Ribéry

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