Bold Ukraine leave France facing World Cup exit door

Second-half goals from Zozulya and Yarmolenko leave France with mountain to climb

Ukraine’s forward Andriy Yarmolenko (centre) celebrates scoring as  Eric Abidal looks on. Photograph:Franck Fife/AFP Photo/Getty Images

Ukraine’s forward Andriy Yarmolenko (centre) celebrates scoring as Eric Abidal looks on. Photograph:Franck Fife/AFP Photo/Getty Images

Fri, Nov 15, 2013, 23:45

UKRAINE 2 (Zozulya 61,Yarmolenko 83 pen) FRANCE 0

France faced the embarrassing prospect of missing out on a major tournament for the first time in 20 years when they lost 2-0 away to Ukraine in the first leg of their World Cup play-off tie last night.

Les Bleus, who last missed a major competition when they failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals, succumbed to Roman Zozulia’s goal shortly after the hour and Andriy Yarmolenko’s late penalty, four days before the return leg at the Stade de

France’s Laurent Koscielny and the home side’s Oleksandr Kucher were sent off in injury time as Ukraine took a step towards securing their second World Cup appearance after reaching the quarter-finals in 2006.

France barely had a chance, apart from a Samir Nasri effort and were shaken throughout by a bold Ukraine side.

French manager Didier Deschamps had opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Olivier Giroud up front and Karim Benzema on the bench, but his side now face an uphill task to qualify.


UKRAINE: Pyatov, Khacheridi, Shevchuk, Fedetskiy, Kucher, Yarmolenko, Stepanenko, Konoplyanka (Gusev 90), Rotan, Edmar (Bezus 76), Zozulya (Seleznyov 86). Sent off: Kucher (90). Booked: Shevchuk, Fedetskiy, Kucher.
FRANCE: Lloris, Debuchy, Abidal, Koscielny, Evra, Nasri (Valbuena 80), Matuidi, Pogba, Giroud (Benzema 70), Ribery, Remy (Sissoko 64). Sent off: Koscielny (90). Booked: Giroud, Sissoko. Att: 67,732.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).