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  • Date:15 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:17:00
  • Venue:Donbass Arena - Donetsk
  • Jeremy Menez (53)
    Yohan Cabaye (56)

Live Commentary


Full-time: Ukraine 0-2 France


That turned into a comfortable victory in the end for France, who were deserving winners and now move on to four points. Ukraine were disappointing, but have the chance to redeem themselves in their last game, against England.


We're into the first of three added minutes.


Konoplyanka hasn't given this game up yet and for the second time in a matter of minutes he shot for goal, only to see his effort from a tight angle miss by some distance and eventually go out for a throw-in.


Yellow card for Tymoschuk for a lunging foul on Martin.


Now it's France's turn to try their luck from a free-kick as Nasri fires right-footed shot at goal from an angle, but Pyatov scampered across to palm it to safety.


France are still looking the more dangerous team and now M'Vila tries his luck from 25 yards out, but his right-footed shot sails well over. Ukraine look like they have decided to save energy for their remaining group game and have all but given this match up.


A chance for Ukraine to strike at goal from a free-kick 22 yards out is wasted as Aliyev scoops his effort over.


All sting has gone out of this game now, with France content with their lead and Ukraine looking disspirited. Giroud has just sent a speculative left-footed shot from outside the box well over.


Yellow card for Mathieu Debuchy for bundling over the surging Konoplyanka.


Another substitution for France, with Benzema coming off for Olivier Giroud.


Change for France as Menez is replaced by Sochaux's Marvin Martin.


Chance for France from a free-kick 20 yards out, but Ribery fires his set piece over.


Devic tries to inject life into Ukraine by going on a mazy run, but he was off balance when he struck the ball and so his shot trickled harmlessly wide. Shevchenko thought his team-mate should have passed and so flashes him an angry glance.


Changes for both teams as Cabaye comes off for Yann M'Vila for France, while Yarmolenko is replaced by Oleksandr Aliyev for Ukraine.


Chance for Ukraine as a spell of pressure of their own culminates with the ball falling to Andriy Yarmolenko, who shoots but steers his rushed effort wide.


Cabaye hits the post! A long, sustained spell of pressure ends with the ball dropping to Cabaye, who rifles a right-footed shot against the outside of Pyatov's left-hand post with the keeper beaten.


France are now pinging the ball around in the final third, waiting for a killer pass to present itself. Ukraine can't get a touch.


France are brimming with confidence now and the excellent Benzema has just had another shot at goal from outside the box, but it was straight at Pyatov.


Substitution for Ukraine, who send on Artem Milevskiy for Nazarenko.


Goal! Ukraine 0-2 France (Yohan Cabaye)


More brilliant work in the build-up by Benzema, who shrugged off a defender to play in Cabaye. The Newcastle midfielder enjoyed a stroke of luck to evade Gusev, but then found the bottom corner with a low, left-footed shot.


Ukraine have reason to feel aggrieved by that goal because Menez should have been shown a second yellow card just before half-time. Meanwhile, Selin has been booked for a rash challenge.


Fine goal from a flowing counter-attack from the French. Ribery charged down the left and played inside to Benzema, who in turn fed Menez to cut in from the right and beat Pyatov with a low, left-footed shot into the bottom near-post corner.


Goal! Ukraine 0-1 France (Jeremy Menez)


And Ukraine have another dig at goal, Tymoschuk this time sending a shot over the bar from the right edge of the box. Aggressive start by both teams.


But Ukraine respond straight away through Shevchenko, who sends a beautifully struck right-footed shot from outside the box only just high and wide.


Great chance for France as Menez is played through on goal. He gets the better of Selin but can't beat Pyatov with a left-footed shot.


Positive start to the second half from France, who have gone straight on the attack and swung three crosses into the box. Ukraine's defence have been alert to the danger, though.


Ukraine have made a change, with Andriy Voronin coming off for Marko Devic. Ukraine have kicked off so we're back under way.


Chances for both teams but France have created more and looked the more dangerous side throughout that half. Ukraine struggled to get going after the restart and will have to improve after the break.


Half-time: Ukraine 0-0 France


One added minute to play. Meanwhile, Menez catches Selin on the ankle and is lucky not to be booked for a second time.


Yet more slack defending from Ukraine allows Benzema to create space to cross at the left byline, but his driven ball evades his team-mates and Ukraine clear.


Both teams are creating chances now and are being allowed to do so by some poor defending. Both back lines look vulnerable.


Menez picks up a yellow card for France for pulling back Shevchenko.


Another close call for France as Samir Nasri stands up a free-kick to the back post for Philippe Mexes to steer a header goalwards, only for Pyatov to dive to palm the effort around the post.


Scare for France as Benzema tried to clear a Ukraine corner from the right but instead sliced the ball towards his own goalkeeper. The danger was averted, though.


Great chance for Ukraine as Yevhen Selin plays in Shevchenko down the left channel but the Dynamo Kiev striker's right-footed strike from an angle was comfortably saved by Lloris. France's defence were sleeping there.


Andriy Shevchenko tries to respond for Ukraine with a shot from just outside the box, but he was leaning back as he hit it and the ball flew harmlessly over.


Ribery is tearing Ukraine apart on the left wing. Oleh Gusev, in particular, simply can't handle his pace and the Bayern winger has consequently already created several good chances.


Fantastic chance for France as Ribery seizes on a mistake by Tymoschuk and lays it on a plate to Menez at the back post, but his effort was straight at Pyatov, who saved easily. Let-off for Ukraine.


Benzema now tries his luck from 20 yards but his right-footed effort was slightly scuffed and Pyatov saved easily.


Great chance for France as Ribery gets the better of Nazarenko at the left byline and cuts back to Menez, but his shot from 15 yards is high over the bar.


Finally, Ukraine get on the ball for a sustained period of time, but they're still struggling to penetrate the French defence. Andriy Yarmolenko has just had their best effort, side-stepping his marker and firing with with a left-foot shot from the edge of the box.


Ukraine are struggling to build up any rhythm here. They can't retain possession and, as a result, they are yet to mount a purposeful attack.


Goal disallowed for France as Ribery plays a ball through the Ukraine defence and into the path of Jeremy Menez, who scores with a low finish, but the Paris Saint Germain man was narrowly offside.


France are taking control of possession now. Gael Clichy has just picked up the ball on the left and swung a cross in towards Benzema, but it was just too high and the Real Madrid striker couldn't make contact.


Ukraine mount their first attack as Serhiy Nazarenko plays in Oleh Gusev down the right, but his cross is over the heads of his team-mates in the box and the opportunity was lost.


Ribery goes on a dribble for France and as he does so the TV cameras zoom in to reveal splashes coming up off the surface, so there is still a lot of water on the pitch. Not enough to hamper play, though.


France have been far quicker out of the blocks after the restart and just worked the ball neatly across the edge of the box, but Benzema was tackled before he could get a shot away.


And France go straight on the attack through Karim Benzema, who fires in a shot from the edge of the box that Andriy Pyatov can only parry before claiming at the second attempt.


The water that had started pooling on the playing surface has drained away and the game will be restarted with a drop ball. And we're back under way.


Incredibly, the rain is so severe that Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers has taken the players of the pitch and the game is suspended. Amazing scenes. Lightning over the stadium is also a concern.


The rain is so torrential it is beginning to gather on the pitch and the players are all soaked through.


Tenacious start from Ukraine, who force Philippe Mexes into playing a pass back to Hugo Lloris that put the France goalkeeper under pressure. He cleared the ball but that was a clear signal of Ukraine's intent.


And France get the game under way. They are in all blue, with Ukraine in their traditionall all yellow.

The rain is pouring down in Donetsk now, which will slicken the pitch and play into the hands of the French passing game. Laurent Blanc's team dominated possession against England and will be looking to do the same here.

The national anthems have been passionately sung and so we're now ready for kick-off, which is just moments away.

The players are just emerging from the tunnel, with Anatoliy Tymoschuk and Franck Ribery, the Bayern Munich players turned opponents tonight, sharing a joke.

It's a hot and sticky night in Donetsk, which is likely to have an impact on the game. Neither side will want to surrender too much possession because chasing the ball will be an exhausting task.

Ukraine will also be spurred on by the fact they can qualify for the knockout phase with a game to spare should they beat France today.

However, Ukraine can take heart from the fact that France have not won a major tournament game in eight attempts. Their last victory was in the 2006 World Cup semi-final, when they beat Portugal 1-0 thanks to a goal from Zinedine Zidane.

France have good memories of facing Ukraine in Donetsk having beaten them 4-1 at the Donbass Arena only last year. They have also never been beaten by Ukraine in the countries' six meetings to date.

And here is the France team: (4-2-3-1) Lloris; Debuchy, Mexes, Rami, Clichy; Cabaye, Diarra; Menez, Nasri, Ribery; Benzema. Subs: Mandanda, Evra, Valbuena, Giroud, Matuidi, Reveillere, Malouda, M'Vila, Martin, Ben Arfa, Koscielny, Carrasso.

Here is how Ukraine will line up: (4-4-2) Pyatov; Gusev, Khacheridi, Mykhalyk, Selin; Yarmolenko, Tymoshchuk, Voronin, Konoplyanka; Nazarenko; Shevchenko. Subs: Koval, Kucher, Garmash, Aliev, Shevchuk, Rotan, Milevskiy, Seleznyov, Rakitskiy, Butko, Devic, Goryainov.

Ukraine are unchanged, but France have made two changes, with manager Laurent Blanc dropping Florent Malouda for Jeremy Menez and, more surprisingly, replacing Patrice Evra with Gael Clichy.

Welcome to our coverage of Ukraine's Group D clash with France in Donetsk. Oleg Blokhin's side go into the game high on confidence after beating Sweden 2-1 in their opening game courtesy of a brace from the evergreen Andriy Shevchenko. France, meanwhile, are looking for their maiden win of the tournament, having been held to a 1-1 draw by England in their first game.

Word has just come through that the game WILL NOT be resumbed before 18h00 BST (19h00 CET). So that time is the earliest the game can be restarted.

There are reports that the storm will last for another five minutes, but it could still be some time after that before the pitch is ready to be played on again.

TV cameras are now showing the Ukraine players waiting in the tunnel, but they could be there for a while because the rain is still sheeting down.

If the match is abandoned, it will be replayed tomorrow, but there is no indication that an abandonment will take place at this stage.

The players have been off the pitch for around five minutes now. This is a disaster for the coaching staff, who must keep the players warm and also focused on the game. No sign at this stage of when the game will restart.

Pockets of hardy fans are braving the downpour, but they are all soaked to the skin.

The stadium is virtually empty now because the rain is so severe and swirling that it was drenching fans in the stands and they have now gone inside to the concourses.

Half of one side of the stadium has been emptied as fans run for shelter. Lightning seems to be the main concern, but large puddles have started to form around the halfway line.

The players are now on their way back out. The rain looks to have fully stopped.

The players are back in the tunnel and the restart is just a few minutes away now. The referee and Uefa officials have been out on the pitch assessing the amount of water on it, and they seem to be happy it's good to go.

We are now hearing that the game will restart at 18h00 BST (19h00 CET).

The teams are on their way back out. Both sides will be looking to improve after a sluggish first half, although that might have been expected after the rain delay.

**Provisional teams until kick-off


  • Oleg Blokhin Coach
  • Andrey Pyatov Goal
  • Oleg Gusev Defender
  • Taras Mykhalik Defender
  • Yevgeny Khacheridi Defender
  • Yevgeny Selin Defender
  • Andrey Yarmolenko Midfielder
  • Anatoli Tymoschuk Midfielder
  • Andrey Voronin Midfielder
  • Sergey Nazarenko Midfielder
  • Yevgeny Konoplyanka Midfielder
  • Andrey Shevchenko Forward
  • Maxim Koval Substitute
  • Alexander Goryainov Substitute
  • Alexander Kucher Substitute
  • Denys Garmash Substitute
  • Vyacheslav Shevchuk Substitute
  • Ruslan Rotan Substitute
  • Yevgeny Seleznyov Substitute
  • Yaroslav Rakitskiy Substitute
  • Bogdan Butko Substitute
  • Marko Devic
  • Artem Milevskiy
  • Alexander Aliyev


  • Laurent Blanc Coach
  • Hugo Lloris Goal
  • Matthieu Debuchy Defender
  • Adil Rami Defender
  • Philippe Mexes Defender
  • Gael Clichy Defender
  • Yohan Cabaye Midfielder
  • Alou Diarra Midfielder
  • Samir Nasri Midfielder
  • Jeremy Menez Forward
  • Karim Benzema Forward
  • Franck Ribery Forward
  • Steve Mandanda Substitute
  • Cedric Carrasso Substitute
  • Patrice Evra Substitute
  • Mathieu Valbuena Substitute
  • Blaise Matuidi Substitute
  • Anthony Reveillere Substitute
  • Florent Malouda Substitute
  • Hatem Ben Arfa Substitute
  • Laurent Koscielny Substitute
  • Yann Mvila Substitute who played
  • Marvin Martin Substitute who played
  • Olivier Giroud Substitute who played

Match Report

France brave storm to bring Ukraine down to earth
France weathered a fierce thunderstorm that held up play for almost an hour to beat Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine 2-0 and claim top spot in Group D.
An almighty deluge at Donetsk's Donbass Arena forced the players off the pitch after only five minutes and when the skies cleared it was France who prevailed through quick-fire second-half goals by Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye.
It was France's first victory at a major tournament since their runners-up finish at the 2006 World Cup and it took Laurent Blanc's side a point above Ukraine ahead of the later game between England and Sweden in Kiev.
Les Bleus' unbeaten run now stands at 23 matches, while Ukraine must pick themselves up after a reality shock that cut through the euphoria sparked by their opening 2-1 success against the Swedes.
The first moment of drama occurred during the national anthems, as a sudden clap of thunder interrupted La Marseillaise.
The match began beneath a steady downpour but the rain quickly intensified, sending spectators scrambling for cover and obliging referee Bjorn Kuipers to order the players off the pitch for a delay that was to last 57 minutes.
When play resumed, it was France who took the initiative, despite the roars of encouragement from the banks of yellow-clad fans in the tribunes every time Ukraine crossed the halfway line.
Ukraine goalkeeper Andrei Pyatov fielded a curling shot from Karim Benzema and blocked an effort from Menez at the back post, either side of a low shot from Andrei Yarmolenko at the other end that dribbled wide.
The arena shook with noise each time the ball came to Andrei Shevchenko, hero of the win against Sweden.
The 35-year-old threatened to raise the volume even further in the 34th minute, but Hugo Lloris was equal to his firmly struck half-volley.
With both defences betraying signs of unease, play swung from end to end, and Pyatov was obliged to produce a stunning one-handed save to claw away a Phillipe Mexes header that appeared destined for the top-right corner.
More enterprising than in their 1-1 draw with England, France remained on the front foot in the second period and Pyatov had to be alert to deny Menez again after he ran onto Benzema's beautifully weighted through-ball.
Shevchenko and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk both shot narrowly over within the space of a minute, before Menez finally scored the goal he had been threatening in the 53rd minute.
Franck Ribery was the catalyst, striding into Ukrainian territory on the left and picking out Benzema, whose pass allowed Menez to cut in from the right and beat Pyatov at his near post with a left-foot shot.
Within three minutes it was 2-0 and Benzema was again the provider, sliding a diagonal pass through the defence for Cabaye, who held off Oleg Gusev before drilling home his first international goal.
Cabaye almost claimed a stunning second in the 65th minute, his crisp shot cannoning back off an upright, before Blanc successfully took the sting out of the game with a string of substitutions.
A match that began with a torrent of rain ended with a barrage of boos, but the quarter-finals remain within sight for both sides.





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