Lodeiro sent off in dull 0-0 draw
Lacklustre France failed to turn their superior possession into chances and could ultimately pay a heavy price as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Uruguay in an uninspired World Cup Group A clash on Friday.
After South Africa and Mexico drew 1-1 in the tournament curtain-raiser in Johannesburg all four teams have a point each in what always looked an intriguing group.
It was not quite a repeat of France's 2002 horror show when, as holders, they lost 1-0 to Senegal en route to a first-round exit but the draw leaves the 2006 runners-up with plenty to do.
Uruguay finished the match with 10 men after substitute Nicolas Lodeiro picked up a second booking in the 81st minute.
Image: Referee Nishimura flashes the red card at Nicolas Lodeiro as Uruguay's Abreu looks
France looked lively early on
The match on a crisp Cape Town night was never likely to match the opening game for action and fervour but France, despite pessimism among their fans, looked lively early on.
They had a great chance after seven minutes when Franck Ribery escaped down the left and crossed low only for Sydney Govou to sidefoot wide from six metres out.
Yoann Gourcuff kept goalkeeper Fernando Muslera on his toes with a near-post free-kick but then the chances dried up.
Image: Uruguay's goalkeeper Muslera clears the ball during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match against France
Ribery showed flashes of brilliance
Franck Ribery showed flashes of his brilliance but it wasn't enough to take France home.
French coach Raymond Domenech swiped his hand in frustration and then dug them deep in his pockets before going to shake Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez's hand.
Their teams had disappointed the duo.
Image: France's Franck Ribery avoids a tackle by Uruguay's Mauricio Victorino during their 2010 World Cup Group A match
Forlan tested Lloris only once
Uruguay were relying on strike duo Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez to open up the French defence on their own, rarely committing midfielders forward to support them.
As the game wore on it began to look a reasonable tactic with the livewire Forlan dangerous around the box, albeit testing Hugo Lloris only once with a 20-metre curler.
Uruguay, twice champions but who have not got past the second round since 1970, will probably be pleased with the result as the group remains there for the taking.
Image: -Uruguay's Forlan reacts during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match against France
Henry replaced Anelka but couldn't make a difference
Nicolas Anelka led a three-man front line but looked off the pace and was replaced by Thierry Henry after 73 minutes.
Despite the vuvuzela-led promptings of the 64,000 crowd in the magnificent new Green Point stadium neither side could raise their game, though Forlan lashed wide with 15 minutes left.
Domenech now faces a test of his abilities against Mexico before what could a mouthwatering finale versus the hosts.
Image: France's Thierry Henry comes on for Nicolas Anelka during the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match against Uruguay