France! Ukraine! Liveblog!
The lineups, after the jump.
The Home Team starters (in a 4-4-2): Pyatov; Gusev, Khacheridi, Mikhalik, Selin; Yarmolenko, Tymoshchuk, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka; Shevchenko, Voronin.
Les Blues starters (in a 4-2-3-1): Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexès, Clichy; Cabaye, Diarra; Menez, Nasri, Ribéry; Benzema. (Note: Clichy not Evra, Menez not Malouda.)
Anthems: Closeup of Nasri killed ESPN2 HD over here. I’m watching this in lifeless 2-D. Is that rain I see?
HD’s back. And we have kickoff. And, DAMN, the home crowd seems loud as well as three-dimensional. I love me some HD.
2′: Some danger in France’s third (smooth move, Mexes-Lax!), but Lloris clears. Then Ukraine calls for a foul that the ref doesn’t call.
4′: Nice run for Nasri on a through ball, but the finish just isn’t there.
5′: RAIN DELAY?
Timewasty analysis 2′: “Have you ever been rained on, Michael Ballack?” Oh, this isn’t going to go well, is it?
Timewasty analysis 8′: We’re talking about Group A scenarios. I probably have time to type in the names of all the Ukrainian subs, but just barely.
The weather. Update: We’re not getting the game until 1 pm ET at the earliest.
AND WE’RE BACK. No anthem re-dos. No pomp. Just kicking.
5′: There’s a ball lofted toward the French goal on a long pass, but it overshoots the Ukrainian player and comes down to Lloris.
6′: OOOOOH. Benzema takes aim from about 20 yards out, and Pyatov sees the ball bounce off his hands before he recovers.
7′: Shevchenko makes a run that delights the crowd.
9′: Gusev wears #9 for Ukraine and plays fullback, by the way.
9′: And a chance for France, but things get sticky (muddy, perhaps?) in the box and they can’t get a finish on it.
10′: Debuchy launches a ball toward goal. Why not?
12′: Some sloppy defending there, but Nasri can’t get to the ball to take advantage quite in time.
13′: Clichy topples Yarmolenko. Free kick awarded.
16′: OOOOOOOH! Best chance of the game so far — Ribery makes a great run and feeds Menez in the box. He’s ruled offsides just as he’s putting it past Pyatov into the back of the net. We’re still at 0-0.
23′: It’s another Uk-RUN that doesn’t quite finish, but they’re sure getting up that left flank with ease.
25′: Chance! Yarmalenko works his way into the box, and it’s just wide of the post. France escaped hearing a lot of national pride just there.
27′: Menez launches a Tango over the bar. It’s no Jabulani, but it’s got some lift.
28′: And Benzema shoots — rolls into Pyatov.
29′: SO CLOSE! France, on a counter, gets a cross from Ribery that missed Benezma but gets to the right side of the box, where Menez (cut-and-paste time) shoots and misses.
31′: Crowd shot of Ukrainian female fan. Announcers judiciously pass on the opportunity to make a mail-order-bride joke.
32′: Ribery makes a long run and thinks he gets fouled at the end, when he’s really getting defended. He shows “what-the-effing-eff” level indignation to to the ref. Cards stay in the ref’s pocket.
33′: Konoplankton (or however the hell you spell that) launches a ball into the seats.
34′: CHANCE! Another run down the left flank for Shevchenko, and he shoots straight at Lloris. Rami’s getting abused out there.
37′: Yarmolenko works past Clichy and creates a chance, which turns into two dangerous corners in a row. Arsenal fan here wondering: Kos isn’t one of the best four defenders on this French team? Really?
39′: DAMMMMN. Nasri sends in a lovely free kick finding Mexes on the far post, who heads almost — but not quite — past a flailing Pyatov. Then there’s some bumbling in front of the Ukrainian goal that’s almost disastrous for them, then the threat of a counter thoughtfully snuffed out by Menez, who adds a yellow card foul to his distinguished day.
UPDATE: Start time for ENG-SWE moved from 2:45 to 3 ET.
45′ + 1: Oh wow. Menez fouls Selin. Could have been a yellow card. And Menez already has a yellow card. Suggestion to Blanc — why don’t you sub Menez out at halftime?
PLAN B FOR HALFTIME SHOW, SINCE THE ESPN CREW USED THEIRS DURING THE RAIN DELAY ALREADY: Ballack! Lalas! A fight to the death!
Today’s chuckle: Andy Carroll’s starting for Ingerland. Then again, Torres scored two yesterday. Maybe Carroll gets a hat trick today.
Crowd shots as they head to commercial: I have seen from a Ukranian fan, for the first time in my life, someone waving his hands in the air like he truly and for real just don’t care.
Also seen: Two muskateers. Muskateer #3′s in the bathroom, I’m guessing.
We’re back. Devic on for Voronin to start the second half.
49′: JEEEEEZ ALREADY. Cut and paste time. Menez shoots, hitting Pyatov at his feet. Ukraine counters. Shevchenko abuses Rami on the left flank, and his shot goes just wide.
50′: Tymoshchuk takes a shot from outside the 18 on another counter, and it just slips over the bar.
52′: Rami learns the art of arm-checking and FINALLY handles a Shevchenko run on his own.
53′: FINALLY! Ribery feeds Benzema who feeds Menez at the right side of the box, and stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before … but Menez neatly nutmegs a shot through Selin and past Pyatov! 1-0, France!
55′: Selin gets a yellow for tripping Rami.
56′: GOAL! I was typing out some salient point about something … and France moves the ball around Ukraine’s third at will until Cabaye takes a why-the-hell-not shot and slots it.
58′: Said salient point: So, Valera was the goat in Portugal’s first match and converted from an identical spot in an identical sub situation in game two, becoming the hero. Torres was Torrible in Spain’s first match and then scored two in the next match against Europe’s JV. Now, Menez hits from the same spot in the second half he missed from all the first.
60′: Tactical change: Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Nazarenko off, Milevskiy on.
61′: Benzema hits a shot directly at Pyatov.
66′: CHANCES! On one end, Cayabe hits the post after France have themselves a rondo at the Ukrainian end. Then, again, up the left flank for Team Yellow, with Devic (I think it was Devic) threatening.
67′: Yermalenko tries his luck. He’s not so lucky. Good hipster beard, though.
68′: TRANSFER WATCH ALERT! Cabaye off for Arsenal target M’Vila. Yarmalenko off for Aliyev.
70′: Davic makes a nice run and can’t quite finish.
71′: Ribery, on a free kick, sends it just over the bar.
73′: Martin on for Menez.
76′: ARSENAL! Giroud on for Benzema.
77′: (Okay, so officially, MONTPELLIER!)
79′: Debuchy gets yellow carded for a bad tackle.
81′: Oh, Mexes. He gets yellow carded for tackling Melivskiy at the end of the box. Dangerous free kick coming … but it’s skied over the bar.
84′: M’Vila launches a ball into orbit.
85′: Lloris mops up a half-threat, and it’s feeling like Ukraine doesn’t have much left in the tank.
87′: On a free kick after a Tymoshchuk yellow, Nasri places the ball well, curling under the bar near the near post, but Pyatov makes a great save.
90′: We’ll be having us three minutes of stoppage time.
(In which nothing happened.)
FULL-TIME. France looked strong, though Ukraine had its chances at points. See you very, very shortly for Zlatan vs. Andy!