THE DAY REPLAYED – France and Switzerland played out a scoreless draw in Lille on Sunday to maintain their positions at the summit of Group A and thereby qualify for the knockout stage of UEFA EURO 2016. Les Bleus finished two points ahead of the Swiss to earn a last-16 match against a third-placed side, while Switzerland go on to face the team that finishes second in Group C. Tournament debutants Albania, meanwhile, pulled off a great result by beating Romania 1-0 in Lyon to eliminate their opponents, who join Ukraine in exiting the competition.
The day’s results
Switzerland 0- 0 France
Romania 0-1 Albania
At the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, it soon became apparent that there was little chance of a repeat scoreline from the previous competitive encounter between France and Switzerland, at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. France ran out 5-2 winners on that occasion, but this time around the Swiss were distinctly more solid in defence and intent on retaining possession of the ball. France dominated the first half and created the best chances, most notably when Paul Pogba hit the bar with a rasping left-footed drive, but in the second period the game drifted with both sides seemingly content with the result. Dimitri Payet lifted the crowd when he came on and nearly sealed the points when he met Moussa Sissoko’s deep cross at the back post with a sweet volley, only to see it cannon off the bar to safety. That was the last action of note though, and the draw meant both sides were safely through.
Romania began brightly against Albania in Lyon but gradually wilted in the face of gritty opposition. Armando Sadiku was the hero for the unfancied Albanians, finding the net with a clinical header in the 43rd minute. Anghel Iordanescu’s Romania are heading home, while Albania's joy was unconfined at the final whistle.
Highlight of the day
All 23 Albanian squad members were already history-makers, being the first players from their country ever to appear at a major international tournament. Now, Armando Sadiku has made an even more special name for himself by scoring his nation’s first-ever goal at such an event. The striker rose to meet Ledian Memushaj’s driven cross at the back post and nod the ball back across the outrushing Ciprian Tatarusanu and into an empty net.
1 – Switzerland have won eight, drawn two and only lost one of their last 11 competitive matches. Unbeaten in five matches, the Swiss last tasted defeat in September when they lost 2-0 away to England.
What they said
"We can talk about the performance but the most important thing was to top the group and we got the job done tonight. It was a tough game against a good Swiss side whose players lifted their game, especially in the second half. Everyone worked hard to make sure we kept a clean sheet. Winning matches is vital and tonight we didn't win, but we did finish top and that is crucial." France defender Laurent Koscielny
Russia - Wales (21:00)
Slovakia - England (21:00)
The winners of UEFA EURO 2016 go on to represent Europe at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.