Sport

Switzerland qualify for knockout stages

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic, left, celebrates after his side qualified for the round of 16
Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic, left, celebrates after his side qualified for the round of 16

Switzerland followed France through to the last 16 of Euro 2016 by holding the host nation to a 0-0 draw in their final Group A match last night after the unlucky French hit the woodwork three times.

France had the best chances in a lively first half but the intensity then dropped, with both sides looking happy with a result that means Les Bleus win the group with seven points from three games ahead of the Swiss in second two points back.

Paul Pogba, criticised for his first two outings, stepped up a gear and hit the bar twice before the break. France struck the woodwork again 15 minutes from time with a spectacular volley by substitute Dimitri Payet after some fine build-up play.

Switzerland, who have never beaten France at the finals of a major tournament, looked far more competitive than when they were thrashed 5-2 by the same opponents in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 

A goal from striker Armando Sadiku helped Albania to a 1-0 victory over Romania to earn their first three points and a chance of advancing to the knockout stages.

Sadiku scored Albania’s first goal in the finals of a major tournament with a header just before half time from a cross by Ledian Memushaj in their last group A clash.

Romania fought back in the second half, and substitute Florin Andone rattled the Albanian bar with 15 minutes left, but otherwise their efforts were blocked time and again by determined Albanian defending.

The result leaves Albania third and Romania fourth, with just one point, in a group topped by France and Switzerland. 

The Albanians will have to wait for the results of the other groups to see whether they go through as one of the four best third-placed teams.