Day ten at Euro 2016 was an untypically quiet one in Group A, as Switzerland and France played out a draw and Albania defeated Romania to record their first ever victory at a major international tournament.
France had the better chances in the game, as Paul Pogba was denied by a superb save by Swiss ‘keeper Yann Sommer, prior to hitting the bar. West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet has scored twice so far during this tournament and with 15 minutes remaining smashed a powerful effort off the bar.
In the end the draw suited both teams, France topped the group and Switzerland finished second and now head through to the knockout stages.
The other game in Group A saw Albania record their first ever victory at a major tournament by defeating Romania 1-0 in Lyon. Romania dominated possession, but struggled to create many chances.
In fact Albania should have taken the lead through Ermir Lenjani who missed a chance from close-range. The Albanians did take the lead on 43 minutes though. Ledian Memushaj fired in a cross from the right, which looked to be an easy take for Romania ‘keeper Tatarusanu, but the giant ‘keeper misjudged the ball and Armando Sadiku was there at the far post to head into an empty net.
Romania would have been expected to come out all guns blazing in the second half, but created very little. There one chance of any not came with just 14 minutes left on the clock, as substitute Florin Andone smashed an effort against the bar.
Romania produced few scares for the Albania’s and Gianni De Blasi held on for victory that saw them finish third in the group, which could yet be enough to see them through to the knockout stages.
Euro 2016: Day Eleven
Day eleven sees Group B come to a conclusion with England, Wales, Slovakia and Russia all with a chance to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.
England top the group having recorded a dramatic last-gasp victory over neighbours Wales last time out courtesy of a Daniel Sturridge toe-poke.
The win put the Three Lions in complete control of the group, as they head into the last round of group games on four points and top of the pile. A long with fellow substitute Jamie Vardy, Sturridge made a big impact in the win and both are now tipped to be in the Three Lions starting line-up for this clash.
In truth England had looked far more dangerous with the lively Vardy and Sturridge on the pitch, following their half-time introduction. With England virtually assured of their place in the knockout stages boss Roy Hodgson may make other changes to his starting eleven.
A win would ensure that the Three Lions go through as group winners, although a draw could be enough if Wales fail to win against Russia.
Slovakia saved their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages with a 2-1 win over Russia last time out. The goal scoring heroes were Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik and they are likely to be key players once again for Jan Kozak’s side.
Hamsik was the star of the show in qualifying and again the star against Russia. If Slovakia are to get anything out of this game then he could be a vital player for his team.
Slovakia could qualify for the knockout stages with a win or a draw. A win could see them win the group, depending on the other games result, while a draw would give them a chance of finishing as one of the best third-place teams, again depending on the other game in the group.
The other game in Group B sees Russia face Wales in what is a crucial game for both nations, with both of the countries able to make it through to the knockout stages.
Russia came into this tournament with key midfielders Igor Denisov and Alan Dzagoev and it has shown in their attacking play.
A 2-1 defeat against Slovakia last time out means they have picked-up just one point from two games, so a draw in this clash would not be enough to see them through to the knockout stages. However a win for Leonid Slutskiy’s side could change the scenario completely. History is on Russia’s side in recent games against Wales, as they have won the last three meetings.
They are slight favourites heading into this game and a win in this clash would move them above the Dragons in the standings. Much will depend on what happens elsewhere though.
Wales were on the back foot for much of their clash against England in the 2-1 defeat, but will still have been disappointed to have conceded a stoppage-time goal. For much of the game the Welsh back line defended stoutly, just like they had against Slovakia in their opening group game.
Chris Coleman’s side will fancy their chances of achieving at least a draw in this clash, especially with the sublime skills of Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale in their starting line-up. The former-Tottenham star has not been at his best in France, but has scored in both group games so far.
Wales know that a draw is likely to be good enough for qualification for the knockout stages and may even see the Dragons finish as runners-up in the group, which is if England defeat Slovakia in the other group game.