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France find their stride to pick off Ukraine

Published: Friday 15 June 2012, 20.52CET
Ukraine 0-2 France
A torrential storm interrupted the action in the first five minutes before Jérémy Ménez and Yohan Cabaye fired France to their first Group D win.
by Chris Burke
from Donbass Arena

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Match statistics

UkraineFrance

Goals scored0
2
Possession (%)48
 
52
Total attempts9
 
16
Attempts on target2
 
11
Attempts off target7
 
5
Attempts blocked1
 
1
Attempts against woodwork0
1
Corners5
 
6
Offsides2
 
3
Yellow cards2
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed7
 
16
Fouls suffered15
 
7

Standings

Last updated: 12/02/2013 17:13 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Friday 15 June 2012, 20.52CET

France find their stride to pick off Ukraine

Ukraine 0-2 France
A torrential storm interrupted the action in the first five minutes before Jérémy Ménez and Yohan Cabaye fired France to their first Group D win.

It was wet, it was loud, and it was a long time coming, but France eventually earned their first victory at UEFA EURO 2012 thanks to quickfire second-half goals from Jérémy Ménez and Yohan Cabaye.

The weather conditions threatened to take the headlines after a torrential storm interrupted the action, but an improved display from Les Bleus hardly went unnoticed either. Karim Benzema was the provider on both occasions as Ménez and Cabaye struck within the space of three minutes to lift France to the top of Group D – ahead of tonight's meeting between Sweden and England.

Laurent Blanc had urged his players to be awake from the first whistle during this game and, were there any danger of a drowsiness to match their start against England, an eardrum-shattering thunderclap during La Marseillaise brought everyone to instant attention. It also brought thick sheets of rain tumbling from above and, with less than five minutes gone, the referee had to bring proceedings to a halt.

Fears of a postponement were eventually allayed 58 minutes later as the match resumed, and Benzema sought to exploit any moisture on the ball when his curled shot nearly squeezed through goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov's grasp. The Real Madrid CF forward looked in eager mood as France sought to apply pressure from the off – as per Blanc's instructions – but clear chances were another matter and Andriy Yarmolenko got the locals going when he pulled a low effort wide.

Still, Les Bleus looked destined to take the lead just before the half-hour when Franck Ribéry sped beyond Taras Mikhalik to retrieve a loose pass down Ukraine's right and hooked a cross towards Benzema in the area. A deflection rerouted the ball to Ménez in front of goal, but, having already blasted one attempt over, the surprise starter fired straight at Pyatov.

If he was expected to handle that, the Ukraine keeper then excelled when clawing a Philippe Mexès header away from the top corner following Samir Nasri's free-kick delivery. It was Hugo Lloris, though, who had made the first impression between the two when he batted away a powerful Andriy Shevchenko strike, the veteran streaking clear behind right-back Mathieu Debuchy and unleashing thunder of his own.

Shevchenko threatened again soon after the resumption when he speared a shot narrowly off-target from the edge of the area, and it was evident that both teams had resolved to raise the tempo. By that point, Pyatov had denied Ménez when the midfielder had squirmed free down the left, but the keeper was helpless to prevent him opening the scoring when he received a pass from Benzema, skipped inside Yevhen Selin and stroked low inside the near post.

When it rains, it pours, of course, and three minutes later Pyatov was beaten in the same corner of his goal, Cabaye this time applying the low finish from another Benzema assist. The Newcastle United FC midfielder could have had a second when he rattled a post from distance and, with Ukraine reduced to long-range attempts at the other end, Nasri forced Pyatov to palm away a late free-kick. For France, the clouds are starting to clear.

Last updated: 26/10/12 14.13CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2012/matches/round=15172/match=2003334/postmatch/report/index.html#ukraine+fall+france

Quotes

  • Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin

    Read more"Maybe the French got used to these conditions quicker, but they're one of the best teams in the world "

  • France coach Laurent Blanc

    Read more"Six years in major competitions and to not win a game is a long time. I hope our next win isn't in six years"

Lineups

Ukraine

Ukraine

France

France

12
PyatovAndriy Pyatov (GK)
1
LlorisHugo Lloris (GK) (C)
2
SelinYevhen Selin
Yellow Card55
2
DebuchyMathieu Debuchy
Yellow Card79
3
KhacheridiYevhen Khacheridi
4
RamiAdil Rami
4
TymoshchukAnatoliy Tymoshchuk
Yellow Card87
5
MexèsPhilippe Mexès
Yellow Card81
7
ShevchenkoAndriy Shevchenko (C)
6
CabayeYohan Cabaye
Goal56
Substitution68
9
GusevOleh Gusev
7
RibéryFranck Ribéry
10
VoroninAndriy Voronin
Substitution46
10
BenzemaKarim Benzema
Substitution76
11
YarmolenkoAndriy Yarmolenko
Substitution68
11
NasriSamir Nasri
17
MikhalikTaras Mikhalik
14
MénezJérémy Ménez
Yellow Card40
Goal53
Substitution73
18
NazarenkoSerhiy Nazarenko
Substitution60
18
A. DiarraAlou Diarra
19
KonoplyankaYevhen Konoplyanka
22
ClichyGaël Clichy

Substitutes

1
KovalMaxym Koval (GK)
16
MandandaSteve Mandanda (GK)
23
GoryainovOlexandr Goryainov (GK)
23
CarrassoCédric Carrasso (GK)
5
KucherOlexandr Kucher
3
EvraPatrice Evra
6
GarmashDenys Garmash
8
ValbuenaMathieu Valbuena
8
AliyevOlexandr Aliyev
Substitution68
9
GiroudOlivier Giroud
Substitution76
13
ShevchukVyacheslav Shevchuk
12
MatuidiBlaise Matuidi
14
RotanRuslan Rotan
13
RéveillèreAnthony Réveillère
15
MilevskiyArtem Milevskiy
Substitution60
15
MaloudaFlorent Malouda
16
SeleznyovYevhen Seleznyov
17
M'VilaYann M'Vila
Substitution68
20
RakitskiyYaroslav Rakitskiy
19
MartinMarvin Martin
Substitution73
21
ButkoBohdan Butko
20
Ben ArfaHatem Ben Arfa
22
DevićMarko Dević
Substitution46
21
KoscielnyLaurent Koscielny

Coach

Oleh Blokhin (UKR) Laurent Blanc (FRA)

Referee

Björn Kuipers (NED)

Assistant referees

Sander van Roekel (NED), Erwin Zeinstra (NED)

Fourth official

Tom Harald Hagen (NOR)

Additional assistant referees

Pol van Boekel (NED), Richard Liesveld (NED)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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