Euro 2012: France beats Ukraine, 2-0, with second-half flurry


View Photo Gallery: Samir Nasri and France survived a deluge and then defeated Ukraine.

Torrential rain and lightning suspended Friday’s Group D match between France and Ukraine only minutes after it began.

But when the storm settled and the players returned to the pitch, the French provided a pair of quick lightning strikes of their own early in the second-half to claim a 2-0 victory and the top spot in the group table.

After a scoreless opening 45 minutes that included an hour-long interruption, the co-hosts threatened early and often in the second half. But after a pair of shots narrowly missed the target for Ukraine, France finally showed the offensive punch that made it a popular choice to advance deep into the tournament.

Jeremy Menez cut back to his left and ripped a strike low into the left corner in the 53rd minute for the first tally. Three minutes later, Yohan Cabaye doubled the advantage with another left-footed strike into the same corner, and Ukraine never found an answer.


Yohan Cabaye left-footed strike sealed France’s victory. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

Shevchenko brought the drenched, yellow-clad faithful to their feet with a nifty cut inside minutes before the Menez goal, but his right-footed blast just sailed past the top left corner. Anatoliy Tymoschuk botched another prime opportunity moments later and France came charging the other way on the counter attack to take the lead for good.

It was an encouraging effort from Les Blues who settled for a frustrating 1-1 draw with England despite dominating possession, chances and pace. Now a result against Ukraine will send them through to the quarterfinals.

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Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.

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