That one ended 1-1, a fair enough result.
Greater technical skills were on view in the second game, France looking by far the better team for most of the match, except that the Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan was comfortably the best player on the field, whatever he did.
But they failed to turn that dominance into the sort of result Raymond Domenech desperately needed after a dismal warm-up campaign. Even when Uruguay went down to 10 men (don’t mess with strict Japanese refs – as Evra and Ribery had discovered in the first half when Yuichi Nishimura rightly booked them both), a winning goal seemed beyond Les Bleus. And, of course, was.
One last free kick outside the box, with less than a minute of stoppage time left. It was wasted and the French commentator admitted “c’est fini” some seconds before the ref signalled his agreement.
France will probably still advance, with Uruguay at a guess, since the other two countries offer only modest threats. I do not, however, see them staying in South Africa much longer that that.
* From the World Referee site, we learn this Yuichi Nishimura, who i thought had a good game: … officiated in the 2007 AFC Asia Cup. The same year he took charge of a quarter final and the final of the U17 World Cup in Korea, a match ending in a penalty shoot out won by Nigeria against Spain.