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Published: 21:57 | 19/6/16

France win Group A, with Swiss second

French and Swiss progress at Euros, while Albania shock Romania

France topped Group A at the European Championship following a scoreless draw with Switzerland, who finished second, while Albania defeated Romania to take third place.

The hosts’ bagged seven points to ensure that they will meet one of the third-placed teams in the last 16, with the Swiss set to face the runners-up from Group C.

Albania, with three points, must wait to find out whether they will be one of the four teams that finish third in the respective pools and make it through to the knockout phase.

At Stade Pierre-Mauroy, a much-changed France team recorded a scoreless draw against Switzerland to guarantee top spot in the group.

The Swiss were the better of the sides early on and regularly threatened during the first period but a Paul Pogba strike, touched onto the top of the crossbar by Yann Sommer, enlivened the hosts’ attack.

Pogba continued to frighten Switzerland, forcing Sommer into a fantastic save before finding the top side of the bar from distance for a second time, on the latter occasion with the goalkeeper beaten.

Antoine Griezmann had a good opportunity to break the deadlock prior to the hour-mark thanks to a one-two with Andre-Pierre Gignac, but the Atletico Madrid man fired his effort more or less straight at Sommer.

Substitute and current home hero Dimitri Payet went within inches of netting, striking the underside of the crossbar with a volleyed effort following Moussa Sissoko’s powerful run and excellent delivery.

France, however, were given a scare at the death when Bacary Sagna dragged back Admir Mehmedi in the hosts’ penalty area, but the lack of decision from the officials confirmed the goalless outcome and both sides’ progress in the tournament.

France will now face a theoretically easier tie in the last 16, while the Swiss go on to meet either Germany, Poland or Northern Ireland.

Armando Sadiku netted Albania’s first ever goal at a major tournament in a 1-0 win at Parc Olympique Lyonnais that eliminated Romania.

The favourites edged the early exchanges in Lyon but Ermir Lenjani ought to have given Albania the lead, only to fire over from close range after being handed a glorious opportunity by Andi Lila.

Lenjani, however, was bailed out on the stroke of the break by Sadiku, who headed past the stranded Ciprian Tatarusanu from a fine Ledian Memushaj cross.

The Albanians edged the third quarter of the clash, holding onto their lead in relative comfort, but came under increasing pressure as the conclusion to the encounter approached.

Florin Andone struck the crossbar with a powerful strike, and the substitute’s drive off the woodwork would be the closest that Romania would come to finding an equaliser.

Albania’s maiden major-championship victory sets up a nervous wait to discover whether or not they will play another game at the tournament. With just three points a minus-two goal difference, tough, it would appear more likely that they will join their victims on the sidelines.

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