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France - Ukraine : Blue sky for France after thunderstorm

By Matthieu Boisseau

Blue sky for France after thunderstorm

Jeremy Menez and Yohann Cabaye’s goals mean France is now at the top of group D after beating Ukraine in a match suspended for 45 minutes due to an electrical storm. Now les Bleus need to draw against Sweden to qualify for the quarterfinals.

The France-Ukraine match was lesson in weather forecasting: lightening can hit twice in the same place. Where? Between Andriy Pyatov’s goal posts..., as Jérémy Ménez and Yohan Cabaye beat the Ukrainian goalkeeper early in the second half to give France a 2-0 win over the 2012 Euro host (with Poland).

The electric match will be remembered not only for the enormous thunderstorm that made the referee decide to suspend the game four minutes just after kickoff. The match took nearly an hour to resume.

However, this could not unsettle France though Andriy Pyatov seemed unbeatable during the first half, and the French defence was dramatically overtaken by legendary Andriy Shevchenko’s speed on counter-attacks.

However, in spite of Oleg Blokhine’s players’ determination to win the match, all their endeavours failed to deliver a significant blow to the opposing side. This was made even more obvious when Jérémy Ménez, who could well have been off for a high tackle on Selin in the first half, finally converted a shot with a fine finish in the 53rd minute.

Ribéry launched a sharp counter on the left, passed to Benzema who found Jeremy Menez on the right. The Parisian player cuts inside Selin and hits a tremendous shot low into Pyatov's left hand corner. Three minutes later, the Donbass Arena sat in stunned silence as Cabaye, receiving a crisp pass from Benzema, flew away from Gusev and lashed a shot past Pyatov.

France is now top of Group D on goal difference. England, who narrowly defeated Sweden, has four points. Les Bleus are 90 minutes away from their initial objective : to reach the quarter finals. Hold on, les gars !

Ukraine – France : 0-2

Goals by Ménez (53) and Cabaye (56)

Ukraine: Pyatov; Gusev, Khacheridi, Mikhalik, Selin; Yarmolenko (Aliyev, 69), Tymoshchuk, Nazarenko (Milevskyi, 60), Konoplyanka; Shevchenko, Voronin (Devic, 46).

France: Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexès, Clichy; Cabaye (M’Vila, 68), Diarra; Ménez (Martin, 73), Nasri, Ribéry; Benzema (Giroud, 76).


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