Group Elimination D: Friday, 15 June 2012 - Donetsk - Donbass Arena
On June 15 “Les Bleus” meet with the “Yellow-Blues” in their Home Turf at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.
After defeating Sweden on June 11 by overturning a one goal deficit, the Ukrainian team will be going up against the French on home turf. Playing at home is a big advantage for a sports team regardless of how diverse the spectators can be. This is one strongpoint that the Ukrainians hold. Team captain Andriy Shevchenko seems ready for another battle after a fantastic victory against Sweden where he scored the two goals sealing a 2-1 win.
Although according to fans within the site, Ukraine looks to be the favourite, France is still FIFA World no.14 against Ukraine at a mere no.52 and elsewhere is considered the favourite regardless of a less than explosive performance against England during the Group D opener. Plus the track record says a lot as well.
The French remain unbeaten in 21 matches during the climb up to the European championships up to the game against England which ended in a draw. Not bad despite the lacklustre performance over the English team whoare considered already washed up. Equipped with the dangerous and brilliant Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri on the wings the “Bleus” look to deploy 4-5-1 formation once again.
France however needs an upgrade in their gameplay. Although their attack is impeccable, the Ukrainians proved many people wrong with their performance against Sweden. The days of Zidane are long gone so a step up is in place.
Predictions: France wins 1-0
Let’s take a look at the numbers: France, world ranked number 14; Ukraine, world ranked number 52. The French also have a straight 21 wins up to the Euros. There’s really no argument in this but upsets can happen so we’ll just have to see on the 15th.
In Group D action, France literally weathered a vicious thunderstorm that held up play for almost an hour to beat Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine 2-0 and claim top spot in the group.
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 its runners-up finish at the 2006 World Cup and it took Laurent Blanc's side a point above Ukraine and level with England.
"Tonight I really enjoyed watching France play," Blanc told television reporters after the match.
"We scored two goals and we could have scored a few more. We're progressing. Everything isn't perfect but the players know that we have a potential that just needs further progress.
"Each match is different. Tonight we we were better than Ukraine and God knows it wasn't easy because they had a whole stadium behind them."
Les Bleus' unbeaten run now stands at 23 matches, while Ukraine must pick itself up after a reality check that cut through the euphoria sparked by its opening 2-1 success against the Swedes.
"In the first half, it was an even game," Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said.
"In the second, we were unable to score and France were. I'm satisfied with our play but unfortunately everything didn't go as planned.
"The win against Sweden didn't guarantee us anything, so if we thought we were in the quarters, we made a mistake."
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 despite fears that the game would be abandoned and rescheduled for Saturday, it was given the go-ahead to resume at 6pm as conditions appeared to ease.
The 50-minute delay, however, means the match threatened to overlap with the other Group D encounter in which England take on Sweden in Kiev. However, that match was put back to an 8pm kick-off so there was no clash.
EURO 2012: Ukraine vs France Timeline
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