Euro 2016 Group A Round Up: France,Switzerland qualify after draw, Albania make history
France and Switzerland played out a 0-0 draw at Lille which meant the French finished top of Group A with the Swiss earning the point they needed to claim the second automatic qualifying spot.
Albania made history by claiming their first ever win in a major competition against Romania. A solitary goal by Sadiku late in the first half was enough to see them finish 3rd in the standings and in contention for a place in the last 16.
France held by gritty Swiss team in 0-0 draw
France started without the likes of Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet in their starting lineup as Deschamps decided to give Cabaye and Coman starts. Griezmann nd Pogba were included back in the starting XI.
The Swiss needed a win to ensure they went through to the next round. Their lineup remained more or less unchanged.
France had to deal with the first danger. Xherdan Shaqiri whipped in a dangerous corner, which hit Pogba who knew nothing about it and ricocheted off Johan Djourou on the goal line and the Juventus midfielder eventually cleared his lines.
Minutes later Pogba was at the right end of things. The midfielder picked the ball up on the edge of the box from Gignac’s layoff and curled one towards the top right corner but Sommer made a terrific save, tipping it over the bar.
The battle between Pogba and Sommer ensued, this time, he used his left foot to power a half-volley from the left and Sommer made another acrobatic save to deflect it wide of the goal.
Pogba finally got the better of Sommer but not the post. The 23-year-old unleashed an absolute piledriver with his weaker left foot from 35 yards out, that hit the crossbar as the keeper could only watch. If that had gone in, it would have been the goal of the tournament so far no doubt. The Swiss were living dangerously
Switzerland did well to stop the danger after that effort. Koscielny had a header cleared off the line and Pogba and Griezmann had half chances but all in all the French were well marshalled for the remaining of that half. But the Swiss were also finding chances hard to come by
It was Switzerland who started with real intent in the second half. Lloris wasn’t forced into a save but the team in red were not ready to be brushed aside. Once again France had the first real clear cut chance.
Griezmann and Gignac combined beautifully with a smart one-two and the latter produced a shot from the edge of the box. The shot had power but lacked direction to beat Sommer and he managed to get a strong hand and deny the Atletico forward.
As the game drew on, Deschamps decided to turn to his star man as Payet came on for Coman. The West Ham man almost provided the inspiration that France needed. In the 75th minute, Moussa Sissoko powered down the left wing from his own half and put in a cross which Payet met so sweetly with a first-time volley only to see it crash against the crossbar.
But that was as close as it got for both teams as they settled for a draw. France finished on top of the group and the Swiss settled for second, qualifying for the round of 16 for the first time in their competition history.
Albania finish third with 1-0 win over Romania
Romania needed a win to at give them a chance of qualifying for the next round but they did not get off to a very good start. Both teams were in deadlock until just before half time. Memushaj drilled a cross into the box and Tatasuranu tried to claim the ball and missed it completely, gifting Sadiku with an open goal to aim at and he gladly obliged.
Romania pushed hard in the second half to try and find a away through a rugged Albanian defence but struggled to break them down. In the end, the Albanians managed to hang on to their precious one-goal lead and claim their first ever win in a major tournament.
Final group standings
**Note: Best four of 3rd place teams across of groups will qualify