Photos: Rain leaves France-Ukraine all wet in Donetsk

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That picture on the right?

Yeah, it looked this way for a while Friday for the Ukrainian supporters. For the French fans in and around the Donetsk arena, too, where the first match of Euro 2012 day eight was anticipated.

But about five minutes in: thunder, lightning, sheets of driving rain – the whole nine yards.

Match officials and the Dutch referee made the decision to see if the torrential rain and dangerous conditions would abate.

This marked the first time since 1974 (Poland-Germany in Germany) a European Championship match was halted due to rainy conditions.

Almost an hour later Friday (a little too much time for Alexi Lalas, Michael Ballack and the rest of the poor ESPN studio crew to vamp and improvise … but well done, guys), modern machines and hand-held labor helped remove the standing water and get on with things. And with that, after a delay of about 45 minutes, it was Euro game on!

According to Ballack, it’s now all about how the teams adapt to the new conditions, and about whether they’ve kept the mental edge. “They have to adapt to the pitch, to get a feeling for it very quickly,” he said.

And now we see pictures. Very wet pictures: