"Rain stops play" is a term more usually associated with the summer sport of cricket. However, on Friday evening, the UEFA Euro 2012 football match between France and Ukraine was delayed for 55 minutes due to a severe thunderstorm over the ground in Donetsk, Ukraine.

This is the first time that a game has been temporarily suspended at a major tournament since West Germany versus Poland in the semi-finals of the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

On that occasion it had rained all day long and the field was entirely flooded. Poland’s protests went unheeded and the Austrian referee eventually insisted that the game should go ahead despite the miserably wet conditions.

West Germany eventually went on to win the tournament. This is the first time that a game has ever been suspended in the European Championships.

Thankfully, the ground staff were able to make the pitch playable once the storm receded. On this occasion the host nation was not to benefit from the weather conditions.

France were the eventual 2-0 winners.

We do expect the warm and muggy weather to persist across Poland and Ukraine a little while longer. However, a weak ridge of high pressure should tend to reduce the chance of any subsequent major storms at least for the next few days.

Source: Al Jazeera