Ukraine vs Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 halted due to heavy rain and hailstorm

Players taken off during Group C match in Lyons after torrential rain and hailstones disturb play

James Mariner
Thursday 16 June 2016 18:14
Comments
Referee Pavel Kralovec leads the players off the pitch in Lyons, to the surprise of players from both sides (Getty)
Referee Pavel Kralovec leads the players off the pitch in Lyons, to the surprise of players from both sides (Getty)

You wait 30 years for a goal in a major finals and the gods intervene.

With Northern Ireland players and supporters alike were still celebrating Gareth McAuley's towering header against Ukraine on Thursday, the heavy rain that had affected the Group C match from kick-off turned torrential, with small hailstones filling the playing surface.

Czech referee Pavel Kralovec wasted no time in taking the players off the Stade de Lyon to the sanctuary of the dressing rooms, with 56 minutes showing on the stadium clock.

As the players towelled off and changed their shirts, supporters remaining exposed to the elements made light of the conditions, taking off their shirts and dancing and singing in the rain.

Play was resumed less than three minutes later, Kralovec seemingly satisfied that the worst of the weather had passed.

The officials leave the pitch amid a hailstorm in Lyons (Getty)

The interruption came seven minutes after McAuley had headed the 'boys in green' ahead from Oliver Norwood's free-kick - Northern Ireland's first-ever goal at a European Championship finals.

Niall McGinn later added a second to seal a superb 2-0 victory for Northern Ireland and eliminate Ukraine.

Television companies appeared confused by the interruption too, with ITV screening the match to British audiences without a clock or scoreboard for a large swathe of the second half.

Viewers were left confused and horrified by the lack of timepiece:

The match was not the first European Championship match in recent years to be affected by the weather.

Bolts of lightning illuminate the night sky in Donetsk in 2012 (Getty)

Ukraine were again affected four years ago, their group match with France, on home soil in Donetsk, halted for an hour as torrential rain flooded parts of the stands and soaked the pitch, with thunder and lightning also in the air.

Roy Hodgson inspects the sodden playing surface in Warsaw four years ago (Getty)

England's World Cup qualifier against Poland in Warsaw in October 2012 was delayed by 24 hours following heavy rain, with Roy Hodgson's side forced to return the following afternoon to secure a 1-1 draw.

Bad weather affects England's friendly with Honduras in Miami in 2014 (Getty)

The Three Lions were also taken off the field mid-match in June 2014, a World Cup warm-up match against Honduras in Miami halted for 40 minutes due to a local lightning storm.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in