Andriy Shevchenko looked up for the match and much younger than his 35 years again on Friday, but he couldn't find the back of the net and his defense wasn't nearly as sturdy. Meanwhile, France made tactical adjustments and looked like a much better team than they did in their game against England. Ukraine put up a good fight for 52 minutes and head into the final game of the group stage with a chance to advance, but they were outclassed in the second half as France won 2-0.
The match kicked off on time, but was suspended after just five minutes of play due to rain so heavy that the pitch became unplayable, as well as lightning in the area. The match resumed after a delay of around 45 minutes and burst to life quickly, with Karim Benzema forcing a save from Andriy Pyatov right away after the start of play.
Jeremy Menez, who came into the team for Florent Malouda, had a goal disallowed for offside in the 17th minute, but the move was a good indicator of what France were going to be capable of once Menez got on the same page with his teammates. Not long later, in the 29th minute, Menez forced Pyatov into a big save. Shevchenko had Ukraine's best chance of a scoreless first half, testing Hugo Lloris with a powerful drive from a narrow angle in the 34th minute.
The suspension of play and long delay was not kind to Andriy Voronin, who was ineffective in the first half. He was replaced at halftime by Marko Devic, who helped Ukraine to look a bit more lively in the second half's opening minutes. It was up and down with chances on both sides in the first few minutes of the half, with Menez testing Pyatov again in the 49th minute, which was quickly countered by a wonderful effort by Shevchenko one minute later. On a counter attack, he took the ball inside onto his right foot from the left flank and curled a spectacular shot towards the top corner at the near post from 25 yards, but his strike missed by less than a foot.
Ukraine would eventually be made to pay for their inability to capitalize on their decent chances, and the third time was a charm for Menez in the 53rd minute. Pyatov made two great saves on the Paris Saint-Germain man the first two times he was tested, but Menez netted France's opener with his third effort on goal. It came on the end of a beautiful move, with Franck Ribery finding Karim Benzema, who laid the ball off to Menez for the finish.
France would strike again and put the game away just three minutes later in equally impressive fashion. Benzema picked up the assist yet again, dropping deep into midfield to find the ball. As he came deep to receive a pass from Nasri, Yohan Cabaye made a run forward to fill the space that he vacated. Benzema brilliantly turned away from his defender and played a 20-yard pass into the feet of Cabaye, who controlled well and finished to put France ahead 2-0.
Benzema would eventually be substituted while France were comfortably in the lead, with Laurent Blanc opting to give Olivier Giroud some game time while Benzema got some rest. Benzema looked unhappy to come off without a goal for the second straight game, but he was integral in setting up both goals -- especially the second -- and put in a fantastic performance.
Ukraine weren't considerably worse than they were in their win against Sweden, but France were at their best on Friday, especially in the second half. The good news for the hosts is that they still enter the final game of the group stage in control of their own destiny. Six points will see them through to the knockout stages no matter what happens elsewhere.