Ukraine vs. France Euro 2012: Comfortable Win Ensures Deep Run for French
Mother Nature couldn’t stop France from continuing a run that is becoming historic.
Their 2-0 win over Ukraine on Friday in a storm-delayed affair continued quite the winning streak according to ESPN Stats & Info:
With a 2-0 win over Ukraine, France is on a 23 match unbeaten streak, longest active streak in international soccer (16-0-7).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 15, 2012
An impressive distinction, even if their last win at a major tournament was back in 2006 at the World Cup. The win was their first in nine matches after earning draws in their previous eight including the 1-1 affair against England earlier in the tournament.
The French did their damage early in the second half, with two quick goals in the span of three minutes by Jeremy Menez (53’) and Yohan Cabaye (56’). The club held the ball 52 percent of the time, and really wore down the Ukraine defense as the match rolled on.
While Karim Benzema didn’t register a goal, he was outstanding in leading the line for France. The striker played mistake free and set up both goals. Nobody played with more aggression and energy.
While Benzema led the way, the entire club is playing very aggressive at the moment. They recorded 11 shots on goal compared to the Ukraine’s two. They ignored the home crowd and systematically destroy them on the defensive end.
Goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov has been magnificent early on and is the catalyst for a unit that has yet to really be tested yet. When you have a world class keeper like Pyatov, your squad is capable of enormous things.
It appears that’s where France is heading.
With coach Laurent Blanc’s decision to start Gael Clichy and Jermy Menez and bench Patrice Evra, the team is overflowing with speed and playmakers. Through two games they have racked up 26 shots on goal, an impressive mark regardless of the competition.
How Far Will France Go?
It’s not France's fault their Group D is the weakest of the four. With four points, the French have the inside track to advancing, and only have the weakest team of the whole group in Sweden in front of them.
The ball is bouncing the right way right now, and if they continue to play with the offensive aggression they have shown thus far, they are going to be one of the teams nobody wants to face moving to the next round.
Is a quarterfinals match against rival Italy on the horizon? If everything plays out how it should, that’s where we are heading and the excitement for this rematch of the 2006 World Cup would be outstanding.
With the way France is playing, you’d have to love their chances of advancing to the semis. This team is dangerous.
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