Blanc pleased as France impress

Western Telegraph: Laurent Blanc is not prepared to wait another six years for a France win Laurent Blanc is not prepared to wait another six years for a France win

France coach Laurent Blanc was delighted after his side ended their record-breaking winless run at major tournaments as their 2-0 victory over Ukraine took them top of Group D.

After missing a number of chances Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye, with his first international goal, scored to leave the French requiring a point from their final match against already-eliminated Sweden to reach the quarter-finals. It also halted a run of eight matches at finals without a win, an unwanted record set in their opening draw against England.

"We'll enjoy this one. As the French know very well, it's been a long time since we won a game at a major tournament," said Blanc.

"We're very happy to have won. Six years in major competitions and to not win a game is a long time. I hope our next win isn't in six years. If it is, then I want be here to talk about it because I'll have been fired long before."

A severe thunderstorm five minutes into the match forced the players off the pitch for almost an hour before the game could be restarted. It did not appear to affect France, however, as they came back out and dominated throughout.

"When the game was suspended our fear was that we wouldn't get to play it. We really wanted to play; we'd prepared for it," Blanc added. "After our slow first 30 minutes against England this time the weather stopped us making a proper start to a game.

"The stadium staff responded well and everything went how it should. We were worried the condition of the pitch would make it difficult to play our game - and we had some plans in place in case it did - but we quickly saw that the pitch was in good condition."

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin felt a number of his players became complacent after their opening win had put them top of the group after the first round of matches. Now they have to beat England to progress to the knockout stage.

"As I said, the win against Sweden didn't mean anything, so if we thought we were through, we were wrong," he said.

"I think some players thought that and we'll have a serious conversation with them."

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