Although neither managed to score during France’s 2-0 win over Albania, both Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny featured.
The opening exchanges between France and Albania were weighed towards the home team, expected. However, the French showed their fragility in defence when the Albanians managed to get in behind them once or twice.
Manchester United’s young Anthony Martial didn’t appear to be quite as cool under pressure as he was for the Red Devils last season and although it’s clear he has the quality, he does need more experience. Whether this is the time to be gaining it, I’m not sure, but then again, I’m obviously not a football manager.
As the second half wore on, Albania managed to grow into the game, putting in some firm but fair challenges and breaking down the majority of France’s attacks. Olivier Giroud had a a headed chance but didn’t really threaten. Laurent Koscielny, meanwhile, remained solid as a rock while the other three defenders looked wobbly. He made an amazing headed clearance in the 38th minute.
Despite both teams having chances, they went in 0-0 at half time.
France: 19 shots, 0 on target.
— Get French Football (@GFFN) June 15, 2016
In the second half, again, at first it was a pretty even affair. Just like with Arsenal, Oli continued to get in the right areas and had another chance, while Kos was sturdy at the back.
— Anita (@arsenaloFka) June 15, 2016
As the 60th minute ticked by, however, France began to turn the screw. Kos even had a free header after a superb delivery into the box from West Ham’s Dimitri Payet, but it was a bit too powerful and went over.
Giroud had another chance; this time, he hit the post.
Finally, all the pressing paid off and Antoine Griezmann scored a last-ditch winner, just before Kos had a nasty collision with Mavraj and play had to be stopped. He was fine though.
The action wasn’t over yet, as Payet scored another screamer in the final seconds. His second of the tournament.
Albania will feel hard done by and unfortunately neither of our players scored this time but France progress to the next round.