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)

Yellow cards: FRA - Patrice Evra, Franck Ribery, Jeremy Toulalan URU - Mauricio Victorino, Diego Lugano

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.

Starting Line-Ups

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)

SUBS

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)

URU

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)

SUBS

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)

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