Lacklustre France held to draw by 10-man Uruguay

France 0 Uruguay 0

Lacklustre France failed to turn their superior possession into chances and could ultimately pay a heavy price as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Uruguay in an uninspired World Cup Group A clash on Friday.

After South Africa and Mexico drew 1-1 in the tournament curtain-raiser in Johannesburg all four teams have a point each in what always looked an intriguing group.

It was not quite a repeat of France's 2002 horror show when, as holders, they lost 1-0 to Senegal en route to a first-round exit but the draw leaves the 2006 runners-up with plenty to do.

Uruguay finished the match with 10 men after substitute Nicolas Lodeiro picked up a second booking in the 81st minute.

The match on a crisp Cape Town night was never likely to match the opening game for action and fervour but France, despite pessimism among their fans, looked lively early on.

They had a great chance after seven minutes when Franck Ribery escaped down the left and crossed low only for Sydney Govou to sidefoot wide from six metres out.

Yoann Gourcuff kept goalkeeper Fernando Muslera on his toes with a near-post free-kick but then the chances dried up.

Uruguay were relying on strike duo Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez to open up the French defence on their own, rarely committing midfielders forward to support them.

As the game wore on it began to look a reasonable tactic with the livewire Forlan dangerous around the box, albeit testing Hugo Lloris only once with a 20-metre curler.

Nicolas Anelka led a three-man front line but looked off the pace and was replaced by Thierry Henry after 73 minutes.

Despite the vuvuzela-led promptings of the 64,000 crowd in the magnificent new Green Point stadium neither side could raise their game, though Forlan lashed wide with 15 minutes left.

Domenech now faces a test of his abilities against Mexico before what could a mouthwatering finale versus the hosts.

Uruguay, twice champions but who have not got past the second round since 1970, will probably be pleased with the result as the group remains there for the taking.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions