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Ribéry central to ending France's long wait

Published: Friday 15 June 2012, 22.29CET
France had not won a game at a major tournament until their Group D meeting against co-hosts Ukraine, with Franck Ribéry pulling the strings in their 2-0 success in Donetsk.
by Matt Spiro
from Donbass Arena

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Published: Friday 15 June 2012, 22.29CET

Ribéry central to ending France's long wait

France had not won a game at a major tournament until their Group D meeting against co-hosts Ukraine, with Franck Ribéry pulling the strings in their 2-0 success in Donetsk.

Franck Ribéry was delighted to have helped end France's long wait for a final tournament victory with a scintillating performance on the left wing against Ukraine. "Six years is a long time," the FC Bayern München playmaker said.

Les Bleus may have extended their unbeaten sequence to 23 matches with Friday's Group D triumph, but the 2-0 win also represents their first success at a major tournament in nine attempts – a run dating back to the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finals.

Named Carlsberg Man of the Match by EURO legend Fernando Couto, Ribéry expressed relief, saying: "It's important for our confidence to have won this game. We played with more freedom than against England and we really went for it."

In keeping with his superb recent form, Ribéry was quickly in the mood, running at defenders and linking up well with Karim Benzema, Jérémy Ménez and Samir Nasri. Indeed, the 29-year-old had already set up two fine chances for Ménez when he led a lightning counterattack that resulted in the Paris Saint-Germain FC forward opening the scoring

"I'm very happy because I've brought my club form with me here," Ribéry said. "Scoring three in the warm-up games gave me confidence. I played well against England but we only drew. Now I'm really happy to have played well and won."

Last updated: 05/12/13 9.14CET

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