Albania claim historic victory as France top group | Pakistan Today

Albania claim historic victory as France top group

Armando Sadiku made history for Albania on Sunday as his goal secured a 1-0 win against Romania at Euro 2016 to give the Balkan nation their first ever victory at a major tournament.

Meanwhile, hosts France clinched top spot in Group A with a goalless draw against Switzerland that took their opponents through to the last 16 as well.

As group winners, France will face the third-placed 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.

Sadiku headed a Ledian Memushaj cross over goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu two minutes before half-time in Lyon as Albania scored their first goal of the tournament to keep alive their chances of reaching the last 16.

Romania was eliminated while Gianni De Biasi’s Albania, with three points and a negative goal difference, must now wait until the completion of the final round of group matches before finding out if they qualify for the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.

Albania had lost their opening two games and thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Tirana, waving flags, sounding car horns and lighting flares in celebration of their team’s historic victory.

“I am sure the Albanians will be really happy. Not only those who live in Albania but also those who are spread around the world,” said the team’s Italian coach De Biasi.

“I’m very happy for the team, in the first two games we didn’t get what we deserved, but today we won against a team that are very difficult to play against, very well organised defensively.”

In Lille, Didier Deschamps’s France, for whom Paul Pogba shone through in a poor game against the Swiss, can look forward to a theoretically easier draw in the next round as group winners.

Pogba, much criticised over a contentious gesture at the end of Wednesday’s 2-0 win 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 in Lille.

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

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