WORLD CUP: France held to draw by ten man Uruguay
France dominated for long periods in this opening Group A match but failed to break down a dogged Uruguay side in a scoreless draw in Cape Town. Uruguay: 0 France: 0
Venue: Cape Town Stadium Crowd: 64,000 Officials Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)
Assistants: Toru Sagara (Japan) and Hae Sang Jeong (South Korea)
Fourth official: Joel Aguilar (Slovenia)
Red cards: Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay) France started and ended the game in the ascendancy but lacked that killer finish which would have seen them begin their opening World Cup game with a win.
If only Sidney Govou had got more of a touch on to an early Franck Ribery cross instead of side footing wide from close range then France could have been top of Group A.
With Abou Diaby driving through midfield it seemed only a matter of time until Les Bleus opened the scoring but somehow France let the game drift and gradually Uruguay began to sense that perhaps they could snatch an unlikely victory.
And in Diego Forlan the South American's have a striker of lethal reknown.
The former Manchester United player was always a threat, first with a fierce first half shot that was parried by keeper Hugo Lloris and then on the hour mark as Uruguay enjoyed a period of sustained pressure.
The ball was flicked on to Forlan whose snap shot from ten yards was driven narrowly wide.
A series of substitutions livened up France who again took control but failed to test custodian Nestor Muslera.
With ten minutes remaining substitute Nicolas Lodeiro was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bacary Sagna to become the first player dismissed at the World Cup.
This signalled an all out assault on the Uruguayan's goal which saw a last minute handball by Mauricio Victorino go unpunished and substitute Thierry Henry wasted a free kick from a scoring position by firing into the South American wall.
Yet for all this frenetic end to the encounter France must surely have triumphed had they been as direct in the previous 80 minutes.
FRA 1. Hugo Lloris 2. Bacary Sagna 5. William Gallas 3. Eric Abidal 13. Patrice Evra 10. Sidney Govou (Gignac, 85) 8. Yoann Gourcuff (Malouda, 75) 14. Jeremy Toulalan 19. Vassiriki Diaby 7. Franck Ribery 21. Nicolas Anelka (Henry, 71)
16. Steve Mandanda (GK) 4. Anthony Reveillere 6. Marc Planus 9. Djibril Cisse 11. Andre Pierre Gignac 12. Thierry Henry 15. Florent Malouda 17. Sebastien Squillaci 18. Alou Diarra 20. Mathieu Valbuena 22. Gael Clichy 23. Cedric Carrasso (GK)
1. Nestor Fernando Muslera 6. Mauricio Victorino 2. Diego Lugano 3. Diego Godin 11. Alvaro Pereira 16. Victorio Maxi Pereira 15. Diego Perez (Eguren, 87) 17. Egidio Arevalo Rios 18. Nacho Gonzalez (Lodeiro, 63) 10. Diego Forlan 9. Luis Suarez (Abreu, 73)
12. Juan Castillo (GK) 4. Jorge Fucile 5. Walter Gargano 7. Edinson Cavani 8. Sebastian Eguren 13. Sebastian Abreu 14. Nicolas Lodeiro 19. Andres Scotti 20. Alvaro Fernandez 21. Sebastian Fernandez 22. Martin Caceres 23. Martin Silva (GK)