Match Replay: France v Albania Match of the Day

Match Replay: France v Albania

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Welcome to Marseille for this encounter between the house is


France and Albania who are playing in the competition for the first


time. With three points on the board after the opening game in Paris, a


win here would see France qualify for the knockout stages. Albania are


still looking for their first point after losing 1-0 to Switzerland on


Saturday. Didier Deschamps makes two changers.


Albania are without their captain who was suspended after playing


against Switzerland. France have one four of six matches.


They failed to win either of the last two games against Albania. But


it is tonight was my game that really matters on the big stage in


the European Championships. A first touch for Kingsley Coman who has


been playing for Bayern Munich in the past season and gets an


opportunity tonight. Anthony Martial has been brought into the side. A


nice early touch for both of those players brought into the team. Other


than those two, it is as you work for France.


Matuidi is a late addition to the squad given the injuries to the


other defenders. Didier Deschamps was keen not to be very unbalanced.


The capacity is 64,000 in the Stade Velodrome. There were a couple of


hundred tickets left for the opening match, not so here. It's sold out


very quickly. It was a bit of a struggle for Albania against


Switzerland at the weekend, down to ten men. But they battled well in


the second half and could have easily earned a late draw.


Sadiku, the Number Ten, is often an isolated figure.


Ajeti plays in Italy. Albania will be more than aware of the blistering


pace that Kingsley Coman has. The first chance for France to get the


ball into the Albanian penalty area. The Albanian keeper made a mistake


in the first few minutes of the game against Switzerland. He played well


after that, but the damage has been done.


It was whipped in dangerously and over the top of the head of Olivier


Giroud. He scored the opening goal against Romania in Paris. Eight


goals in his last six starts for France.


The number four for Albania is the only one who plays in one of the top


sides in Europe. And a free kick for Albania.


And a free kick for France which Patrice Evra will take. Didier


Deschamps said he was keen for the team to move the ball forward more


quickly in this second match. He wanted greater velocity and more


fluidity from his team, hoping they have got the first match out of the


way and all the pressure and the stress that comes with it. He is in


one of his old starting grounds as well. He lifted the European Cup as


the captain of Marseille in 1993 when they beat Milan in the final.


He came back and coached Marseille as well.


Kukeli has got that holding role in midfield for Albania.


Ajeti was waiting for Anthony Martial and he was backed up by


Lila, one of the three changes for Albania.


The first touch of the ball for Hugo Lloris. The French will be a little


wary of Lenjani. Sadiku does not get the throw he was


hoping for. He has done such a good job for Albania.


Kingsley Coman only turned 20 on Monday. He is a fantastic talent. He


played PSV at the age of 16. The Albanian fans are making


themselves heard. There is a contingent in this cavernous


stadium. Albania competing at a major


tournament for the very first time in their history. They qualified as


runners up in their group behind Portugal. Very tough side to play


against. Quick to get bodies up behind the ball, difficult to break


down. They do not tend to score many goals.


France bound to 10 men just at the moment.


They could consider themselves unfortunate not to have got a point


from that match with Switzerland in Lens on Saturday. Abrashi with the


ball into Memushaj, who is fouled. Trying to force his way past Blaise


Matuidi. He's got a share of the play in the opening 18 minutes of


this 1. No rain deposited on the venue as of


yet. Sadiku, hassling and harrying the


French. They are working very hard. Now perhaps a chance for France to


break. Here is Payet, who played many times here for Marseille, only


left last summer to join West Ham. A big night for him. Looking for


Coman, who had gone through the centre.


Matuidi, and now a bit of space for Martial. Giroud waits in the centre,


and mah Schalke can it get past. -- my shall.


The crowd were on the edge of their seats, in fact out of their seats as


France raced into the penalty area. Still looking for his first goal for


the national team, winning his 11th cap tonight.


Payet to take it. Dangerous looking ball in.


Kingsley Coman gets the better of Memushaj.


Martial of against Leila. -- Lila. Payet. That was shanked behind for a


corner off the boot of Ajeti. The first corner of the match. Ajeti


will have been relieved to see that going wide of his own goal.


Headed away. A rearguard action from Albania at the moment, and they have


got a goal kick here. Abrashi, robustly challenging Payet.


Payet was taken off at half-time the last time France played Albania last


year. Lorries, quick to get things moving.


-- Lloris. Vesely penalised by the referee,


Willie Collum. The full-back is going to have his


hands full this evening with Anthony Martial. 17 goals in all


competitions for Manchester United in his first season. Just 20 years


of age. It has been a quiet opening 20


minutes for the Albanian goalkeeper, Etrit Berisha. Is that about to


change? Bacary Sagna. Matuidi. Payet. Now they are within range,


Martial, good challenge by Ajeti. He did well, lying in wait. And now


away comes Memushaj for our mania. Not the first player to slip on the


Stade Velodrome service in the opening 20 minutes. Suddenly the


match opens up a little. Payet. Intercepted by Albania. The forward


ball was not the best and France get a free kick. A little knowledge in


the back for Laurent Koscielny. Little being the operative word. --


little nudge in the back. This was a superb challenge by Ajeti. Ajeti,


another one of those born in Switzerland, born in Basel. He left


Basel last year for pastures new in Italy.


There are most experienced player and captain, Lorik Cana, the former


Marseille player, would have loved to come back here with our mania. --


with Albania. A bit of space, but just out of reach for Martial.


Agolli. He holds off Giroud. Towards Giroud by Koscielny. This


the third time that France have played a game in this stadium at the


European Championships finals, beaten 2-0 by Czechoslovakia in


1960, but maybe Portugal were re-to in 1984. -- they beat Portugal here


3-2 in 1964. Just past the midway point in the first half.


Good running by the Natalie player, El Cid Hysaj. And it Sadiku was


almost on the end of that. A real threat from Albania. The deflection


from Anthony Martial just took it away from Southee Q. -- from Sadiku.


That has quietened the home crowd momentarily.


Kingsley Coman. He has made a very confident start, Ajeti.


Mavraj, the Cologne defender. Albania keen to get on with this.


Here is Abrashi. Towards Memushaj. Ajeti.


He was rather hoping that Hysaj would continue the run ahead of him.


Albania have shown so far that they will be no pushover is at this


European Championship. They almost caught the French by surprise there.


Good blend of youth and experience in this French squad.


He asked a little too much of Patrice Evra.


Even if he was slightly less than his current 35 years, I still do not


think he would have been able to get that.


Albania are settling very nicely into this match. Neither goalkeeper


has very much to do at all. Sadiku is always willing to strain


every sinew in pursuit of the ball. Bacary Sagna is getting well forward


here on the near side. The pass was rather wayward and the


referee brings the game to a halt. Olivier Giroud is penalised. He is


already on a yellow card, so he would miss the next game if he was


booked today. Kukeli for Albania is also on a yellow.


Sadiku was up against Laurent Koscielny and he goes down. It would


appear as though France are going to put the ball out of play. The


referee comes across to have a look. And Sadiku is now getting grief from


three quarters of the stadium. It has been a frustrating opening


half an hour for the hosts. That was wildly optimistic from


there. He had options to his left and right. Hugo Lloris is keen to


get things moving for France. That was ruled as a stumble by the


referee. But he was caught on the back of the leg.


It was very hard to try and keep the ball in play.


A dangerous looking ball and Berisha confidently went up straightaway


anyway. The keeper kept his eye on that one. He has been the number two


goalkeeper this season. Berisha looked a little stressed


there. Not quite such a good cross. But


what a lovely touch to take Kukeli out of the game. Absolutely


brilliant. The French have not had much to


cheer about so far in this game. Dmitri Payet has got an opportunity


to put the ball into the heart of the penalty area. The big boys are


up from the back. France have had plenty of the ball,


but they have not been able to do much with it... Yet. Olivier Giroud


got his head on it. He is really frustrated with


himself. The referee blew for the first


challenge on Sadiku. You can see what Matuidi is suggesting to the


Scottish referee. He definitely got the ball. Then he most certainly got


Sadiku afterwards. That was a dangerous looking ball


in. A diving header behind from Laurent Koscielny. Could not take


any chances there. Sadiku was racing in behind him. It is the first


corner of the match for Albania. Just over seven minutes remaining of


the opening 45. The shots on goal was smothered at


the very last moment. France very nearly came unstuck there. Another


opportunity for Albania. It fell kindly for Matuidi. He asked


a lot of Laurent Koscielny. Didier Deschamps made the call before the


match leaving out Antoine Griezmann and Didier Drogba before the match.


The new look to the French team has not hit the ground running at all so


far in this game. A quiet night so far for Berisha in the Albanian


gold. Albania are right in this match.


Paul Pogba is limbering up. He will be like a greyhound waiting to get


out of the trap, desperate to get on the field.


It was just taken away from Sadiku by Laurent Koscielny.


Promising play from Albania. Five minutes to go until half-time.


France will have to be patient here. Kingsley Coleman was surrounded,


nowhere to go. Can France have a more productive


final five minutes of this first half? Anthony Marsh rolling it in


the general direction of Olivier Giroud. But the Albanians were lying


in wait. The referee was quick to step in, but he has given a free


kick to Albania. It was the challenge initially on Patrice Evra.


High boot, and they get a free kick outside the box. It has just been


pointed out why the referee as to why he has given it. Patrice Evra


just catching El Cid Hysaj on the side of the head. -- Elseid HYsaj.


Lucas Digne warming up in case Patrice Evra is unable to continue.


There is some suggestion that he would refer to stay on loan with


Roma from PSG, given a choice. Can Albania take advantage of this


situation? Both sides with ten men on the field at the moment. The free


kick, whistling over the top of the bar. How close was it? Hugo Lloris


looked to have it covered. The last minute of the opening 45.


Giroud was penalised for backing in, rather forcefully.


The French have not got out of second gear in this first half.


Casually across, and sliding in was Lila. I think that is a corner for


Albania. It has been given as a corner much to the consternation of


the Crown. It is their third of the game. It is Albania on the front


foot in added time at the end of the first half here. Nail-biting finale


to the first half for the French. It didn't quite fall for him, and


France will have the free kick. Should just about do it. The


half-time whistle can only be seconds away. The Albania fans will


be happy with what they have seen from their team in this first half.


There goes the half-time whistle. Not much to cheer for the home


crowd. Whistles in the style velodrome because France have


misfired in this first half against stubborn opponents who, on a couple


of occasions, have come close to creating real goal-scoring


opportunities. At the break, all to play for, it is 0-0.


Paul Pogba has been brought on for the start of this second after


replace Anthony Martial. France very disappointing in the opening 45


minutes. A misfiring performance as a team, and Martial is the one who


pays the price for that. Didier Deschamps making one change. No


changes made by the Albania coach, Di Biasi. His team have played well.


No surprises there. Pogba was one of two players dropped along with


Antoine Griezmann. On now for the second period. The referee, Willie


Collum from Scotland, gets is underway. Laurent Koscielny.


He has bodies to aim at in the centre. It is not the dawn by


Matuidi just past the far post with Kingsley Coman racing in. A


blistering start to the second half for France. Pogba went to ground.


Kingsley Coman able to get that header inside the front post. --


unable to. Albania acquitting themselves very well in the first


half. Carrying that extra threat going forward, troubling France on a


couple of occasions. Dimitry Payet. And Adil Rami almost


got his toe onto that. The Sevilla defender looking to add to the one


goal that he has scored for the French national team in his career


so far. His team winning the Europa League


and reaching the final of the Copa Del Rey, where they were beaten by


Barcelona. Lila. Evra. Showing that there showing against France last


June was no fluke, on their manager 's 60th birthday.


That was decisively won by Patrice Evra. Matuidi will chase, Eric comes


out, and it is away. Payet, for once, unable to control the ball.


Kukeli brings it clear. You will get the free kick. -- he will get the


free kick Matuidi chasing into the pen of late area. -- penalty area.


He has support outside. He was a little heavy footed there. Generally


a defensive midfielder or right back who sometimes, as today, is deployed


on the right wing by Albania. Winning his 50th cap today. He has


been part of the squad since around 2008.


Kingsley Coman has not been able to make an impact on the match so far.


Berisha taking as much time with this as he can get away with.


The free kick quickly taken. Kukeli. Abrashi alongside him. Agolli


switching the player. This is recent from Albania. Decent looking cross.


France really struggling, and save either post. -- saved by the post.


France at full stretch, as the ball ricochets off the post and bounces


off the head of Elseid Hysaj. The ball bounces off their head of


Memushaj inside the six yard box. Albania again showing that they are


more than capable of causing problems for the French. Coman has


done well here. Dimitry Payet within shooting range, he tees it up, and


it is a corner. Cheers from the home crowd. We haven't heard many of


those so far this evening. It is only the second corner that the


French have one in the hole game and we are my minutes into the second


half. -- nine minutes. Payet quips it then. -- whips it in.


Evra towards Giroud. Payet, lovely, outside of the boot. Great chance,


and Sky Ride by Pogba. -- skied by. Pogba was there, on the half volley.


Couldn't quite keep it underneath the crossbar. France are getting


closer. Not quite as close as Albania were just a couple of


minutes ago. Albania one of two countries, along


with Iceland, making their tournament debut this year. Sadly


too. -- Sadiku. Hugo Lloris was committed. It is a


yellow card for the first time this evening. He will miss the final


group match. The French are one of three nations


to win as hosts along with Spain. That shot was some distance away.


Kingsley Coman is coming into the game a little more in the second


half. Antoine Griezmann is one of the


substitute is warming up for France at the moment.


Matuidi sticks to his task and ultimately comes away with the ball.


Matt Tweedie is so strong. But now it is back with Paul Popper. That


Paul Pogba. It was certainly worth a try from that range.


This Albanian team is totally committed.


That was a little loose, almost leaving the door open for Olivier


Giroud. Can any of those players score a


goal against France? Or will it be the French who prevail?


Advantage played by the referee. The referee was well placed. He says


they played the ball. Tidy and composed for the most part from


Albania. France are looking to up the tempo and the pressure. Again


very quickly players are back behind the ball for Albania.


France have potentially got many match winners in their team. And


they have a corner. Less than half an hour to go.


All hands on deck for Albania once again and it was Koscielny who got


his head to that one. No threat to Berisha's goal.


Again they survived that little flurry.


Gianni De Biasi has certainly got Albania very well organised and well


prepared. It is a throw in. So the referee


says. It is a corner. France are upping


the tempo. The second corner in the last couple


of minutes for France. Albania's stubborn resistance is


still holding. France are preparing to make another


change shortly. Antoine Griezmann will come on.


Perhaps there is room for Patrice Evra. He just waited half a second


too long. The blue shirts were queueing up. It goes wide. Howls of


frustration cascading down from the stands at the Stade Velodrome. It


was a hint of an opening. And Kingsley Coman is replaced by


Antoine Griezmann. The two players brought into the side by Didier


Deschamps tonight have both been taken off and replaced by the two


big-name stars who were left out. Antoine Griezmann has had a stunning


season at Atletico Madrid. 32 goals in all competitions. On the opening


night against Romania he was substituted. Has had 62 games in his


legs already be for tonight. Oh! Of the post! The closest France


have come to scoring tonight. Dmitri Payet looks to pile on the pressure.


Olivier Giroud looks to the heavens. He cannot believe that the ball did


not go in. It was a firm, powerful header.


For France in this Championship there is no Karim Benzema.


The former Stade Velodrome man only left just over a year ago to go to


Mexico. We are past the midway point of the second half. Into the final


quarter of the game. Some tired legs out there. Pogba,


gaining ground all the way. Albania get the ball clear towards the


halfway line. Adil Rani. Griezmann is coming fairly short. I had a


Payet. Pogba, we saw what a great athlete use, moments ago. Pogba with


the ball in. Matuidi almost on the end of that. Suddenly, France are


starting to play. This is the header from Giroud once again. Off the foot


of the post. President Francois Hollande


among those in the stadium watching the match tonight. Andi Lila off,


replaced by Odise Roshi. Odise Roshi started the first match against


Switzerland and lasted 74 minutes. He is on for what remains of this


one. Only one of 20 league appearances for his club side Rijeka


was a start this season. France, knocking on the door. The pressure


starting to build. Payet. He sends that one swelling into the box. --


swirling. He has done well, Memushaj to get away from Pogba. He goes over


the lake of Ngolo Kante, but he was not fouled. Stayed on the ground.


This is Dimitry Payet. Albania affectively down to ten men at the


moment. Pogba sends it into the box, met by the head of Ajeti. Down goes


Pogba. The referee has a look. Gives the free kick to Albania.


Are we going to have a change for the Albanians once again? Their


second change in quick succession. Willie Collum, the referee, just


checking on the player on the ground. He is Memushaj. He ran into


the challenge from Ngolo Kante. Looks like it is Kukeli who is down.


Albania, using the opportunity to have a drink and, no doubt disrupt


the flow of the French game. Was starting to carry a real threat.


They have done so well for so long in this match. 17 minutes to go.


Taulant Xhaka. He is about to come on. Xhaka on, with Kukeli the player


going off, he was the player on the ground moments ago.


Xhaka was substituted on Saturday. He had a bit of a tantrum as he left


the field. The Albanian fans still in high spirits. 15 minutes away


from what would be an excellent point, if they could hang on.


Di Biasi, you can see on the bottom of your screen is very animated in


the technical area. The free kick given away by Patrice


Evra for the challenge. These set plays are the things that the


Albanians need to try and make it count.


Not a great free kick, it must be said. Easily away by Patrice Evra.


15 minutes to go. Berisha. France still stuttering. Can't find


a way through to break the deadlock. Hysaj. That was too high for


Lenjani. Abrashi chasing. He was unlucky not to get the throw-in. We


are going to have a change now. And the Marseille public like the look


of this one. Olivier Giroud is going to be replaced by a real crowd


favoured here, listen to the raw for Andre Gignac, the former Marseille


striker who only left the club year ago. He gets a chance for the final


15 minutes. Gignac has had a great year in Mexico with Cop, they got to


the final of the Copa Libertadores, and he scored 33 goals. The move was


questioned at the time but it has turned out to be a good one. Good


skill initially from Paul Pogba. The flag up. Offside. Albania have a


free kick. Gignac winning his 20th cap, seven goals in the games so


far. -- 28th cap. Taulant Xhaka. Albania in possession


now. And caught out in possession. Pogba with that long stride finding


Gignac. Not the best first touch, not a bad ball. It finds Payet.


Alarm bells ringing at the back for Albania. Towards Griezmann, but over


the top from Sagna. Still looking for his first goal for France in his


59th appearance. He struck it well, just not accurately enough. There is


a relieved man, Taulant Xhaka. He was relieved of the ball in the


middle third of the field. It doesn't add to the spectacle, but


you cannot blame Albania for taking their time.


Have Albania got enough about them to maybe stun France late on? Space


here for Xhaka. Knocks it clear, away from Blaise Matuidi. Odise


Roshi, fresh legs, only been on for a few minutes. Good, combos play


from Albania. -- composed play. Matuidi was fouled. That will be a


yellow card. Abrashi saying it was my first foul.


The referee saying it was enough to get you in the book. Yellow cards


for Kukeli and Abrashi. The noise really does just echo around this


stadium. Inside the last ten minutes of the


game. Berisha, scuttling across his goal, as Koscielny raced in. It was


a chance. The central defenders getting in behind the defence.


Didn't make any contact of any great note at all. Very sure, happy to see


it go behind. -- Berisha. 82 minutes on the clock. Xhaka,


looking at the referee, hoping for a free kick. The Albanians still


digging in. France, probing, looking to break the deadlock. Griezmann


almost on the end of it. And Berisha, just grateful to drop down


on the ball. Left out at the start of the match, Griezmann. Almost


getting on the end of it. As another Albanian player goes down with


cramp. Real frustration for the French President. Albania are going


to make their third and final change any moment now. Frederic Veseli is


going to come on. Matuidi, it is opening up here. Pogba, to


Griezmann, Payet, this looks threatening. Payet still going.


Matuidi looking for an opening. He cannot find it. Ngolo Kante, and it


takes a deflection, wide. He got a goal against Russia earlier this


year. This time, when he let fly, a deflection carried it well wide of


the post. France firmly rapping on Albania 's door. Ajeti looks as if


he is going off. He has had a good game.


Veseli is coming on to replace him. Straight into the thick of the


action now. And Albania get it away once again.


What a tough nut to crack they are. They are a difficult team to play


against. We are about to go into the final


five minutes of the 90 and still we await our first goal. France look


the more likely. Goalkick. Albania are inching towards a point. France


are five minutes away from real frustration.


Berisha is pushing his luck with the referee here. Gianni De Biasi can be


proud of the effort of his players. Not the spectacle that many would


have hoped for around the world from the favourites. But if you look at


it from Albania's point of view, so far it has been an excellent night


's work. But they are not there yet. Still time for a chance or two.


Remember France left it late to find a winner against Romania in the


first game, 97 minutes for the 2-1 win. Dmitri Payet had to find


something special on Friday night. We are in the 87th minute now.


Real disciplined defending from Albania.


What an untimely slip. Unfortunate for Paul Pogba.


Konte will have his name taken by the referee. His first yellow of the


tournament. From Albania's point of view it will eat up a little bit


more time. Albania are fighting for all they


are worth here. Here come the French, roared on by the crowd.


Gignac was unable to turn it goalwards. France have a corner.


Just over one minute remaining in the 90.


A gargantuan effort from the Albanian defence today and it is not


over yet. And Antoine Griezmann saves the day


for France in the last minute of the 90. Left out of the team by Didier


Deschamps at the start tonight. He is the hero of the hour. Relief


echoes around the Stade Velodrome. The favourites are set to squeeze


home against Albania. They went so close to keeping a clean sheet and


securing a precious and memorable point. But the French kept proving


and in the end they found a way through.


He was unmarked. I doubt whether Didier Deschamps will leave him out


of the next match. But we are going into five minutes


of added time. What a relief for Didier Deschamps, what a relief on


President Hollande and three quarters of the stadium here.


Antoine Griezmann delivers a potentially knockout blow to


Albania. Right at the end of this contest we are in added time now. If


France win this match, they are into the knockout stages with a game to


spare. Suddenly the crowd are absolutely full of it. But Albania


do have time to create a chance or two.


Loric Cena is forced to look on from the stands. He can do nothing to


help his compatriots. You can just sends the relief all


around the stadium. But the points are not secured yet for the hosts.


Albania have not threaten Hugo Lloris's goal for a while in this


second half. Have they got enough craft and guile to carve out an


opportunity? They had a good chance to equalise against Switzerland's


late on on Saturday. The referee is quick to halt the


match. There was a head clash with Koscielny. It was a hefty one as


well. Here is the goal. It is so frustrating for Gianni De


Biasi. He looked out of sorts on Friday against Romania. He will be


on the front pages for all the right reasons. It is heartbreaking for


Albania, having done so well. They could easily have got a draw against


Switzerland, probably should have done, even with ten men. They have


come mighty close to getting a point against the hosts here.


Both players are OK and back in the game. Deep in added time. Last


chance saloon surely now for Albania.


Matuidi is busting a gut to get there. Dmitri pie can seal the deal


here and he has. And that has put a better gloss on it from the French


point of view. Two goals right at the death. Gianni De Biasi reflects


on what might have been and what so nearly was. A hard-fought goalless


draw has slipped to Albania's fingers. First the header from


Antoine Griezmann, and now this finish from Dmitri pie yet secure


the points for France. They go through to the knockout stages.


Dmitri Payet has his second goal of the European Championships.


Unconvincing and out of sorts for a long while in the game, France. The


score line will say that they won it with a little room to spare, but it


will not tell the whole story of the game. There goes the final whistle.


The goal was the last kick of the match. Cheers of joy and relief from


the French crowd here. Bitter disappointment for Albania who


fought so hard and came so close to what would have been an excellent


week. But France have got matchwinners in their side and so it


proved on the night, albeit very late. Their 100% record continues,


two wins out of two. The England Men's and


the England Women's cricket teams


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