11th June 2010, Green Point Stadium, Cape Town
Uruguay and France shared the spoils in an uninspiring encounter in Cape Town, leaving group A wide open after all four nations picked up a point on the opening day of the 2010 World Cup.
Pre-match preparations were dominated by the news that French coach Raymond Domenech decided to leave both Thierry Henry and in-form Chelsea midfielder Florence Malouda out of his starting eleven as rumours of unrest in the French camp continued to grow.
That sense of unrest seemed to show in France’s team performance, but captain Patrice Evra was happy with his sides effort despite what many would see as two points dropped and Evra said after the draw that his team are still filled with confidence.
He said, “We really wanted the three points, but I am really proud of the team. I think we did well. It’s the first match. I’m confident for the games ahead. We really deserved to win. Apart from free-kicks, I couldn’t see where Uruguay were going to be dangerous.”
In a relatively quiet first half, both sides had good chances to take the initiative. Firstly Sidney Govoue, a surprise starter ahead of Frank Malouda, failed to make a solid connection with a tempting Frank Ribery cross and Diego Forlan forced French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to produce a fine save with a curling effort.
The second-half continued in the same fashion as the first with both sides sharing possession and creating little to liven up the crowd, in fact the first notable incident of the half fell to Uruguay in the 71st minute of play.
Athletico Madrid striker Forlan found himself unmarked in the French penalty with time and space after a knockdown from his strike partner Luis Suarez, but the Uruguayan fired his right-footed shot wide of goal when it looked easier to score.
Both sides made attacking changes to make one final push in the final stages of the match. Substitute Florence Malouda fired narrowly wide from outside the area as France pushed on in search of a winner, but not even the introduction of Thierry Henry could inject any pace into an out-of-sorts French side.
Uruguay did give their opponents a helping hand with just under ten minutes to go when they were reduced to ten men following Nicolas Lodeiro’s dismissal receiving two yellow cards, but the score remained goaless making this match one to forget.
(picture courtesy of Sky Sports)