Group D Liveblog: We’re Starting With France-Sweden

Liveblog time. Since I’m mostly French and unapologetically Arsenal, I’ll be starting with France-Sweden in the hopes that Giroud will eventually get subbed in, but will update on England-Ukraine as events warrant, or if France-Sweden gets unsuspenseful.

Your lineups, upon the jump:

Two Banks of Four: Hart; Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole; Milner, Gerrard, Parker, Young; Rooney, Welbeck.

Subs: Green, Kelly, Walcott, Henderson, Carroll, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe, Butland.

Sub Predictions: Walcott on for Milner at some point, Ox on for young at some points.

The Home Team: Pyatov; Gusev, Khacheridi, Selin, Rakitskiy; Yarmolenko, Tymoschuk, Konoplianka, Garmash; Devic, Milevskiy.

Subs: Koval, Kucher, Shevchenko, Aliev, Voronin, Shevchuk, Rotan, Seleznyov, Mykhalyk, Nazarenko, Butko, Goryainov.

Sub Predictions: One last victory lap for Shevchenko. Other names that are hard to spell.

Les Blues: Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Clichy; Nasri, Diarra, M’vila; Ben Arfa, Ribéry; Benzema.

Subs: Les Autres.(Mandanda, Carrasso, Evra, Reveillere, Koscielny, Cabaye, Valbuena, Matuidi, Menez, Malouda, Martin, Giroud.)

If I were coaching, I’d use as subs … Cabaye or Kos for one of the yellow carded defenders, Malouda at some point, Giroud once Benzema runs out of steam.

Relegated Scandanavians: Isaksson; Granqvist, Mellberg, Jonas Olsson, Martin Olsson;  Svensson, Kallstrom, Larsson, Bajrami; Ibrahimovic; Toivonen.

Subs: Wiland, Hansson, Lustig, Antonsson, Safari, Elm, Wernbloom, Holmén, Wilhelmsson, Elmander, Hysén, Rosenberg

Le Kickoff!
2′: We’ve had some tumbling to start out — Ribery did a stop, drop and roll; whereas Toivonen tumbles for ya at the other end and then gets a header dangerously close to goal.
4′: Chance for Larsson! Another header from a dangerous spot, but Lloris wraps up.
6′: Ben Arfa makes his presence felt with a crack from 20 out.
7′: Rami, who got thoroughly outplayed last game, starts in again on his campaign of defensive awesomeness by fouling Zlatan from, if not the Highway to the Danger Zone, its access road.
8′: CHANCE! SO CLOSE! Ribery makes a sweet run and shoots from point blank range, but at Isaakson, who had to make himself really big there to prevent that from sneaking in.
10′: WHOA! Mexes completely whiffed on a header in defense, let Toivonen by him, who had an amazing opportunity, but managed to hit the post and the endline simultaneously.
13′: Action — M’Vila takes a shot, while Zlatan pulls down Clichy for an obvious foul.
At the 16′ mark in ENG-UKR, it’s still 0-0. If the Mayans were right, but just a few months off and everything ended now, France would win the group and England would advance.
18′: Ribery to Benzema to Row FF.
19′: Sweden plays a free kick well, going down the right flank and crossing to Larsson, but he channels his inner Euro 2012 Benzema and pierces the clouds.
26′: On a free kick, Rami channels his inner Benzema.
29′: Nasri’s free kick looks dangerous off his foot, but doesn’t amount to much.
31′: Clichy has a chance, but opts to pass into the box instead of take a shot himself, and Sweden clears.
32′: Mild chance for Sweden, but Debuchy clears. Then Toivonen slips into position and barrels into Lloris on a dangerball, but he’s ruled off.
35′: Ben Arfa lets one fly from about 23 — just skates over the bar. Nicely hit.
38′: Nasri elbowed in the gut by Kallstrom and goes down. Some Arsenal fans now jealous of Kallstrom.
42′: The Swedes are displeased with the awarding of a free kick in their half, but nothing comes of it. Then Benzema gets hold of the ball and hits it too wide from too far out.
45′: Ribery and Benzema go on a solid run together, Ribery gets a shot off, which gets deflected for a corner that pinballs around. Then Toivonen has a chance at a counter, but he mistimes his run and he’s offside.
45′ + 1: Another dangerball in the French box, but Sweden’s ruled offsides at the last moment.
And with that, halftime here, and halftime over there. Everything’s at zero still.
Second half starts, Wilhelmsson in, and he makes an immediate and very dangerous run, but he’s ruled offsides.
ENG-UKR UPDATE: Rooney scores. (Think they missed him much in those first two games? Ingerland up 1-0.
51′: CHANCE! Nicely played ball to a just-onside Benzema, but his shot, once he gets himself one-on-one against the goalie, goes wide.
54′: GOOOOOALLLLLL SWEDEN! Ibra hits a sick volley, after playing the ball to the wing, and going horizontal on the subsequent cross. Lloris had no chance. France is reeling right now. Remember: The group runner-up plays Spain.
57′: CHANCE! Wilhelmsson has a point-blank shot that Lloris manages to block … and then, again, Lloris bails France out on a corner that Mellberg gets a solid foot on inside the 6.
64′: Nasri just wide with a shot. Best chance for France this half.
66′: Another chance for France, but Ribery can’t get the shot through the maze of yellow.
68′: Mexes will miss the next match with a yellow card for the second straight match.
70′: Svensson will miss the next match with a similar yellow. But there won’t be a next match for Sweden, of course.
74′: Malouda, who came on for Ben Arfa a few minutes ago, took the latest shot in a cornucopia of excruciating near-misses for France.
Meanwhile, back in Kiev … Walcott on for England, Shevchenko on for Ukraine, there’s a controversial non-goal for Ukraine …
… and here, Benzema can’t finish on another shot, but France wins a corner, and Mexes though he’s won a foul inside the 6, but the ref hates Mexes’ ponytail. Subs for both France and Sweden — Menez on for Nasri, Wernbloom on for Toivonen, Holmen on for Svensson.
82′: Isaakson does well to save Menez’ first chance of note with a leg kick.
83′: Giroud on for M’Vila, and he heads it oh-so-close on his first touch off a corner.
86′: Malouda makes a terrible pass, and Sweden has a counter as a result going just wide.
87′: We have Benzema just a second late on a close shot, another corner, and yet nothing.
90′ + 1: Four minutes of injury time, but it won’t matter, because …. GOOOOAL SWEDEN! Mexes (who else) gets beat on a ball down the right flank, it gets pinballed around, and Larsson slots home the rebound off the crossbar.
90′ + 3′: The “Seven Nation Army” chant is to 2012 as vuvuzelas are to 2010.
We’re final here. England wins Group D, France advances, and Sweden’s valiant in its Game of Honor.
Update: Ukraine got jobbed. BERJT did a great job clearing that ball from goal, but it had already crossed the line by a good foot.

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