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France tops Euro group as Albania claim historic win

Monday, Jun 20, 2016,11:15 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Lille (France) | Euro 2016 hosts France secured top spot in Group A with a goalless draw against Switzerland in Lille on Sunday that also took their opponents through to the knockout stage.

Meanwhile, Albania recorded a historic first win at a major tournament as they defeated Romania 1-0 in Lyon thanks to a solitary goal by Armando Sadiku, and the Balkan underdogs now face a nervous few days as they wait to find out if they will progress as one of the best third-place teams.

Didier Deschamps’s France side, for whom Paul Pogba shone through in a poor game, can look forward to a theoretically easier draw in the next round.

The Swiss will feature in the knockout phase of a European Championship for the first time.

We had the chances and hit the bar twice. We were there to secure first place and we did it, so it is mission accomplished, France coach Deschamps told TV station M6.

Pogba, much-criticised over a contentious gesture at the end of Wednesday’s win 2-0 against Albania, clearly felt he had a point to prove as he came out of the traps flying in a game played on an awful surface.

He saw an early shot saved by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer and then smashed an effort from 25 yards onto the bar and over.

The star of France’s opening two games, Payet began the evening on the bench but came on in the 63rd minute and left the crossbar shuddering with a side-foot volley from Moussa Sissoko’s deep cross.

Deschamps added: Now a new competition is going to start for us next Sunday. We have a long week ahead of us and that will give us time to prepare.

As group winners, France will face the third-place team in either Group C, D or E in Lyon on June 26, while Switzerland will come up against either Germany, Poland or Northern Ireland a day earlier in Saint-Etienne.

We’ll wait and see who we play against and then we’ll be ready. We can hold our own with strong opponents and we still have time to improve, said Petkovic.

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