Euro 2012 match between Ukraine, France briefly suspended because of thunderstorm in Donetsk | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Euro 2012 match between Ukraine, France briefly suspended because of thunderstorm in Donetsk

A match suspension is advised on a giant screen seen through a heavy rain during the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group D match between Ukraine and France in Donetsk, Ukraine, Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

DONETSK, Ukraine - Ukraine's match against France at the European Championship restarted following nearly an hour delay on Friday after a thunderstorm broke over the Donbass Arena.

Dutch referee Bjoern Kuipers had pointed upward and blown his whistle in the fifth minute of the match, prompting players to sprint to the tunnel as torrential rain poured down and lightning flashed in the sky.

Some fans stayed in their seats and even danced in the downpour. The rain eventually began to ease and groundsmen were sent out to spike the field, allowing it to drain.

The match restarted 56 minutes later.

UEFA rules state that if play is postponed for the rest of the day, the players will have to come back to complete the remaining minutes on Saturday.

Shortly before kickoff, the French national anthem had been interrupted by a loud clap of thunder. About 49,000 rain-soaked Ukrainians then bellowed out their anthem.

The early exchanges in the match were cautious, with both sides losing control of a ball that was being held up in the pools of water that were already beginning to form.

Kuipers only needed a few minutes to decide that the players' safety, given the lightning, and the increasingly unplayable field made it impossible to continue.

News from © The Associated Press, 2012
The Associated Press

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