France left it late yet again, but secured the win over Albania with two goals in the dying minutes.
The home nation were distinctly average in the first half, with Anthony Martial and Olivier Giroud missing a host of decent chances. Albania were playing well too, and France were unquestionably finding it hard to craft clear cut opportunities for their forwards.
— Andrew Hockridge (@drewhockridge) June 15, 2016
Didier Deschamps had rather surprisingly left Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba on the bench, and it arguably proved the wrong decision, as without the pair France looked incredibly flat. The missed chances eventually cost the players, with first Martial and then Giroud being substituted.
Paul Pogba, Andre-Pierre Gignac, and Antoine Griezmann came on, and all played their part in changing their game. The Atletico Madrid star got the first goal, despite having little to no impact on the game prior to that. A great cross found him in acres of space in the box, and it was a simple header into the far post to give France the lead with just minutes left to go.
Payet’s goal pic.twitter.com/yIU7UkOalO
— Irons Talk (@ironstalk1) June 15, 2016
Albania then pushed for an equaliser, and were consequently punished by the superior French side. Pogba fired a long ball up to Gignac on the counter, who cut inside and found Dimitri Payet. The West Ham star placed the ball into the far corner with ease, giving France a 2-0 win and making sure they were the first team into the knockout round.
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The final score was perhaps a little harsh on a resolute Albania, but after conceding the first they really had to go for the equaliser.