Yohan Cabaye

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter

 

Yohan Cabaye scored his first international goal on Friday night as France beat Ukraine 2-0 in Euro 2012.

The Newcastle United midfielder - winning his 15th cap - bagged Les Bleus' second goal of the evening in the 56th minute with a well-placed left-footed strike, which put them one step closer to advancing from Group D into the quarter-finals of the competition.

The French weathered an early storm - literally - as both teams were forced off the pitch in Donetsk after just four minutes due to thunder, lightning, lightning torrential rain.

Once play restarted following a lengthy break, France were on top for the remainder of the first half, but were forced to wait until eight minutes into the second period before they finally broke through.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Jeremy Menez fired home from 12 yards and that set Laurent Blanc's side on their way, with Cabaye doubling the advantage three minutes later.

The 26-year-old found himself in an advanced position and, having received the ball from Karim Benzema, held off his marker before sending a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Cabaye almost netted again moments later with a fierce effort but saw it rattle the woodwork rather than find the target.

Fellow Magpies teammate Hatem Ben Arfa was an unused substitute for the French, who take on Sweden in their final group game in Kiev on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick-off).

Meanwhile, in the other Group D fixture, ex-Newcastle trio Andy Carroll, Scott Parker and James Milner helped England to a 3-2 win over Sweden in Kiev.

Big striker Carroll produced an outstanding header from Steven Gerrard's cross to put the Three Lions in front after 23 minutes, but Sweden hit back early in the second half through a double from centre-half Olof Mellberg.

England looked to be heading for defeat, but substitute Theo Walcott sparked a comeback, scoring with a curled shot from outside the area before crossing for Danny Welbeck to back-heel the winner.

All Roy Hodgson's side need is a draw against Ukraine on Tuesday evening to progress to the next phase.