IRELAND MAY BE heading home but there’s still plenty of football to be played. This evening we were back in Group D as tournament co-hosts Ukraine looked to make it two wins from two against France.
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Ukraine 0-2 France
16.48 – What? No, I wasn’t crying. Those, um, onions in the kitchen are just really strong. Or my hayfever’s acting up. Or something like that.
So it’s the morning after the night before. Trap and the lads won’t even need to unpack their suitcases when they head to Poznan to play Italy on Monday, they’ll be on the first flight home straight afterwards.
But in the meantime, there’s still a veritable feast of football to be enjoyed — and that starts now. We’re back in Group D and it’s tournament co-hosts Ukraine against France.
And… wait for it… it’s LIIIIIIVE!
16.54 – Kick-off in the Donbass Arena is in just over five minutes. Here are your teams:
Ukraine: Pyatov, Selin, Khacheridi, Mikhalki, Tymoshchuk, Gusev, Yarmolenko, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka, Shevchenko (c), Voronin.
France: Lloris (c), Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Clichy, Cabaye, Ribery, Nasri, Menez, A. Diarra, Benzema.
16.57 – An Andriy Shevchenko montage with Take That backing music? Eh, don’t mind if I do.
YouTube Credit: stewenTV
17.00 – Mr UEFA man has handed me the team-sheets, so here’s how they’ll line out.
17.30 – Here’s the video. It should give you some idea of why the game is stopped at present.
17.39 – If you’re not watching RTÉ, you’re missing an absolute doozy of an discussion between the lads on the panel who are tearing strips off each other as they discuss the fallout from Ireland’s catastrophic campaign.
I really wish I was liveblogging that instead.
17.46 – We’re just getting word from Donetsk that the match will resume at 6pm — that’s in 15 minutes. There looked to be a helluva lot of surface water on the pitch the last time the cameras cut to the stadium, so I’d imagine the lads with the sweeping brushes will have their work cut out for them.
18.08 – Nice piece of showboating by Khacheridi, the Ukranian centre half, who dispossesses Benzema and then pulls off a clever little turn to skip away into space. Not sure you’d get that from Richard Dunne though I did see Stephen Ward nutmeg Sergio Busquets last night.
18.15 – France have the ball in the net but it’s ruled out for offside. Ribery and Benzema combine brilliantly in the build-up but when Ribery slips the ball beyond the Ukranian defence, Ménez is two or three yards offside. Decent finish, mind you.
18.48 – Jeremy Ménez you lucky, lucky boy. The French winger is lucky not to walk for a second yellow card after he catches Selin and once the Ukrainian is back to his feet, Mr Kuipers blows for half-time.
France had the better of the chances in that first half but two great saves by Pyatov — from Ménez and Mexes — has kept the hosts level and their strong contingent of fans happy as we head into the break.
Back in five.
19.03 – Excellent chances at both ends as this second half gets off to a fiery start. I’m beginning to think that Ménez can’t buy a goal — he’s played in on the left of the area but again Pyatov saves with his legs at his near post.
As play moves down the other end, Shevchenko turns Rami inside out and then curls a beaut which just misses the outer edge of Lloris’s right post. That would’ve been something.
19.52 – The jeers and whistles ring out around the Donbass Arena as Mr Kuipers brings this evening’s proceedings to a close. What a fickle bunch football fans are.
Franck Ribery takes home the man of the match award as France move to the top of Group D. It was all very comfortable for Laurent Blanc’s men tonight who looked threatening without ever really getting out of third gear. These dark horses, eh?
That’s all from me but if it’s more football you seek, Conor Nagle is your man for England v Sweden in Kiev. Go and say hello.
Thanks for your tweets and comments.