Euro 2016: Group A Final Matches… Live!

by | Jun 19, 2016

Ian June 19, 20167:07 pm

Good evening one and all, and welcome to the start of the final round of group matches at Euro 2016. This evening, France play Switzerland whilst Romania play Albania, and no-one has been eliminated from the competition so we’ve got all to play for tonight. We’ll be back a little later with team news and the like.

Mark June 19, 20167:26 pm

I must admit, when I first saw the Euro draw, Romania v Albania was a stand-out fixture. But, I remind you, I am on STRONG painkillers…

Ian June 19, 20167:30 pm

Good evening one and all, and welcome to the start of the final round of group matches at Euro 2016. This evening, France play Switzerland whilst Romania play Albania, and no-one has been eliminated from the competition so we’ve got all to play for tonight. We’ll be back a little later with team news and the like.

Ian June 19, 20167:31 pm

Here’s one set of teams:

SWITZERLAND: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schar, Djourou, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemalli, Mehmedi; Embolo.

FRANCE: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra; Sissoko, Cabaye, Pogba; Coman, Gignac, Griezmann.

Ian June 19, 20167:32 pm

And here’s the other:

ALBANIA: Berisha; Hysaj, Ajeti, Mavraj, Agolli; Basha, Abrashi, Memushaj; Lenjani, Alibec, Lila.

ROMANIA: Tatarusanu; Sapunaru, Grigore, Chiriches, Matel; Prepelita, Hoban; Popa, Stanciu, Stancu; Alibec.

Mark June 19, 20167:45 pm

BBC4 have the B-team out for the Romania game. Manish Bhasin, Trevor Sinclair and Dion Dublin. In a Manchester studio, without even the pretence of a Paris backdrop. Far from the worst analysts. But Sinclair has already praised Albania for keeping Switzerland out until the closing stages despite being down to ten men from late in the first half. Switzerland scored after..SIX minutes, you may remember.

Now they are interviewing “the defensive lynchpin that is Chris Smalling.” Kick-off cannot come soon enough.

Edward June 19, 20167:48 pm

To be fair to Trevor Sinclair, though, Albania were very successful at keeping Switzerland out after that. In much the same way Ireland managed to shut up shop after they let in their third goal yesterday.

Mark June 19, 20167:51 pm

True. And I DO like Sinclair on Final Score and MOTDs 1 and 2. But that’s a schoolboy error.

Tonight’s scenario is one of the advantages of only knocking out a third of the teams at the group stage. Any three from four could qualify. All four teams have all to play for, even if its to win the group and get a last 16 tie against a team such as (cough) Ireland. Given their 2-0 defeat to France, Albania have to go goal crazy.(plucky just won’t cut it now)…which could make for novel viewing

Mark June 19, 20167:53 pm

And, yes, Edward, once Aidan Mageady was on the pitch, Ireland were impregnable….

Edward June 19, 20167:56 pm

Given the stark scorelines we have seen at Euro 2016, it’s surely inevitable that one team will cut loose and score a bundle soon? Probability suggests it will be before the split down to 16 teams. Who is it likely to be? I have a feeling it might be Germany or Czech Republic. Although as long as it isn’t Slovakia, I think my heart and bowels should be equal to it.

Edward June 19, 20167:57 pm

The Swiss and French gladiators are out on the pitch and having a sing song. Switzerland have been very poor so far at the tournament. So, what’s new? Both coaches have rung the changes, each team starting the match with some of their bright young things in their eleven. It’s just Breel Embolo’s second international start for Switzerland, while for France Kingsley Coman continues. Dmitri Payet, however, misses out.

Mark June 19, 20167:58 pm

Portugal to score a bundle. Much as I loathe him, Ronaldo is due a few and is more than capable of scoring them..

Oooooh…and Mark Lawrenson is the BBC4 commentary box analyst. I hope I’m getting well paid for this..and I hope he isn’t…

Mark June 19, 20168:02 pm

Romania are off. Albania in another un-necessary change kit. More empty seats than the tournament average. The French don’t know what they are missing…

Edward June 19, 20168:03 pm

One gets the feeling with Didier Deschamps that, not only does he not know what his best team is, but he gets a monkey to pick it out of a goldfish bowl.

Mark June 19, 20168:04 pm

Lawrenson suggests that every team in the tournament is “in inverted commas, well-organised.” Yesterday’s second half in the Ireland Belgium game erased from his memory bank already. I’m jealous…

Edward June 19, 20168:05 pm

The Swiss coach, Vladimir Petkovic, has the look of Rodney Dangerfield with all the joy drained out.

Mark June 19, 20168:06 pm

There’s a Stanciu and a Stancu on the Romanian team. And the Romanians have had a couple of long rangers already.

Edward June 19, 20168:07 pm

Jonathan Pearce is getting very wrapped up talking about tactical systems, which is as edifying an experience as one might imagine.

Mark June 19, 20168:08 pm

Albania’s “appropriately-named” Basha is booked for a foul on Hoban who rolls over five times, despite his “injury” being to his shoulder. Its such an obvious foul that Lawro promises to “say nothing.” Fat chance.

Mark June 19, 20168:09 pm

Berisha saves a stinger from Stancu. Romania looking, ulp, good.

Mark June 19, 20168:11 pm

Cameras linger on Cristian Karembeu in the crowd. But he’s not name-checked by Simon Brotherton or Lawrenson. Karembeu’s an ITV pundit after all.

Edward June 19, 20168:12 pm

Embolo has looked bright whenever the Swiss have used him and but for over-weighting his pass could just have played Lichtsteiner in, as a vast crevice of space opens up on the left side of the French defence. From the resulting corner, Djourou very nearly turns the ball over the line after all kinds of panicked shenanigans. France looking shaky once again.

Mehmedi, meanwhile, is forced to change his shirt, so badly ripped had it become by Bacary Sagna’s er… marking. The referee didn’t see it, or pretended not to in an attempt to get home in one piece.

Edward June 19, 20168:15 pm

Typically, France rally, going straight up the other end and forcing Sommer to turn a shot over the top of the bar. Neither of these teams look particularly over-burdened by defensive preparation.

Sommer is forced to make another good save, this time turning a Pogba stinger wide with his fingers.

Mark June 19, 20168:15 pm

Lengthy discussion on Romania boss Anghel Iodanescu. Lawrenson has to ask who he played for and says “I might have played against him” when informed that Iordanescu “won the European Cup” with Steaua Bucharest. Lawrenson has done NO research at all. None.

Edward June 19, 20168:17 pm

It is as end to end as anyone could have reasonably expected from these teams. It is Switzerland’s turn this time, Dzemaili breaking clear and having a stab in the dark. He’d have been better off squaring the ball for Lichtsteiner, who was once again flying up from right back completely unopposed by any French marker.

Edward June 19, 20168:19 pm

WOODWORK! Pogba picks the ball up just past half way and his 30 yard left foot shot pings off the crossbar and out. This could be 7-5 tonight. 0-0 is still far more likely, mind you.

Mark June 19, 20168:20 pm

Romania’s long-range efforts are starting to drift higher and wider. After one threatens to land in a different parish, Brotherton wonders aloud “what was he thinking?” Rhetorical question, clearly. But no. Lawro: “He was thinking ‘goal.’ Well I never.

Ian June 19, 20168:22 pm

Right, I am in a car on my way home from Father’s Day festivities and am DEPENDING on you two for live updates. So, no lying about what’s happening.

Edward June 19, 20168:22 pm

Pogba is having comfortably his best game of the tournament tonight, driving forward into the box at every opportunity. Duly, Switzerland march up the other end and have an opportunity of their own, Mehmedi firing over from the edge of the area.

Edward June 19, 20168:22 pm

It is 8-6

Mark June 19, 20168:23 pm

Twenty minutes gone. 0-0. And the quality is visibly evaporating. “That’s gone quick” says you-know-who. He as bored of the match as we are of him…and you probably are of reading about him. I’ll stop. But bloody hell.

Edward June 19, 20168:25 pm

France burst forward with Kingsley Coman. Unfortunately, his cross is wayward and, rather than dropping at the feet of Antoine Griezemann, instead lands in Auchy-les-Mines.

Mark June 19, 20168:25 pm

“Oh what a miss!” Albania’s Lenjani fires over a gaping goal from seven yards. Huge commentary box discussion, NONE of which takes any account of the fact he was flagged offside. Even now, no-one’s told them. Christ on a bike.

Mark June 19, 20168:27 pm

Auchy-les-Mines? That’s where one of the Romanian shots landed. Spooky, eh?

“They probably won’t get a better chance,” says Brotherton, STILL unaware that Lenjani was offside. Maybe I dreamt the offside flag. Funny dream to have, don’t you think?

Mark June 19, 20168:31 pm

30 minutes. Romania 0 Albania 0. And Romania are having difficulty passing comment, let alone the ball. Albania “growing into the game.”

Edward June 19, 20168:34 pm

YELLA CARD. Schar heads out from a French corner kick and Adil Rami sees his chance to shine, wildly trying to scissor kick the opener from the edge of the box. Unfortunately, Mehmedi’s head gets there first. Mehmedi is having an eventful night thus far.

Edward June 19, 20168:35 pm

France are the better side here but Switzerland are keeping them honest. However, Xherdan Shaqiri’s latest corner for the Swiss didn’t even beat THEIR first man.

Mark June 19, 20168:35 pm

A high clearance “hits the wires” of the overhead camera. “There should be a ruling on that” notes Lawro, correctly. Perhaps a journalist at the game could tell us…

Mark June 19, 20168:39 pm

Albania squander two good ONside chances. Memushaj has a close range effort saved, with two colleagues perhaps even better placed. And the resultant corner is well-worked but the shot is, probably, still rising. All Albania at the moment.

Edward June 19, 20168:39 pm

There’s much talk about the pitch here in Lille, which is starting to cut up like a field at the Glastonbury festival. Meanwhile, Granit Xhaka and Paul Pogba have a robust dispute about possession of the ball, resulting in the loss of another Swiss shirt. There’s a bloke in the tunnel ironing numbers on.

Mark June 19, 20168:41 pm

A lot of the pitches are cutting up after sliding tackles, including the Lyon one upon which Romania are currently watching Albania play.

Edward June 19, 20168:42 pm

Players on both sides are losing their footing here with increasing frequency. Some commentators have suggested that the correct boots are not being worn, by which they can only be talking about crampons.

Mark June 19, 20168:43 pm

You are making France Switzerland sound like a “bodice-ripper.” On ice.

Mark June 19, 20168:43 pm

WOOOOOOOOh. Albania 1-0 Sadiku “towering header.” 44 minutes.

Edward June 19, 20168:44 pm

Breel Embolo is also nursing a torn shirt, which are now being replaced only if nipple is in evidence. Quite what kind of material these shirts are being made from is a mystery. One suspects crepe paper.

Edward June 19, 20168:45 pm

The race is now on, will Switzerland run out of shirts before the playing surface runs out of turf?

Edward June 19, 20168:47 pm

How many shirts would a kit man take for an occasion like this? We may be about to find out.

Mark June 19, 20168:47 pm

A far-post cross from the right is drilled onto Sadiku’s head and he heads it “back where its come from,” as ‘they’ always say you should. Fortunately, Romania keeper Tatarusanu and ex-Spurs star (ahem) Chiriches are flying towards Sadiku at great pace for no obvious reason and are thus well-placed only to wave as the ball flies past them.

As per, a flare lands on the pitch. Just the one, though. So, no suspended disqualifications yet

Edward June 19, 20168:49 pm

Half time in Lille. As it stands, France and Switzerland will go through in first and second place. Not a lot doing. France have had the best of it but apart from Pogba’s shot that hit the bar, Switzerland’s only real cause for concern is kit-related.

Mark June 19, 20168:49 pm

Half-time Romania 0 Albania 1. Which is about right. Romania started well. Albania finished well. And Lawrenson’s a d**k. Not all of that was predictable.

Edward June 19, 20169:03 pm

Back under way in Lille. No changes, save for some Swiss shirts.

Edward June 19, 20169:05 pm

Time and time again, Switzerland have found all kinds of space down the French left. Were they not terrible, this could have proved significant. Unfortunately, the first attack of the second half goes much the same way as all of those in the first.

Mark June 19, 20169:06 pm

Back underway in Lyon. Sanmartean on for Prepelita for Romania. Albania? As you were. Good-o.

Edward June 19, 20169:07 pm

Switzerland win a corner, again as a result of the same French weakness. Shaqiri is chased down the whole way by Johan Cabaye, Patrice Evra having decided that tracking back and playing in his actual position are far too mundane a set of tasks for a man of his seniority.

Mark June 19, 20169:08 pm

Brotherton tells us who scorer Armando Sadiku was named after. And, disappointingly, it isn’t Armando Ianucci but Diego Armando Maradona. No imagination, these footballers’ parents.

Edward June 19, 20169:08 pm

France are trying to intimidate their opponents by sending Dmitri Payet out to warm up down the touchline. Switzerland are trying to intimidate the French by not letting them anywhere NEAR the ball.

Edward June 19, 20169:09 pm

Danny Murphy points out, quite correctly, that Switzerland’s set pieces have been atrocious all night. A Swiss team who are bad at set plays are as useless as a marzipan dildo.

Mark June 19, 20169:11 pm

I’ll take your word for that, Edward. As a catholic, I have never had much use for…marzipan.

Pattern of the game is still the same. You havr to remind yourself CONSTANTLY that Romania have to win this.

Mark June 19, 20169:12 pm

I’ll take your word for that, Edward. As a catholic, I have never had much use for…marzipan.

Pattern of the game is still the same. You have to remind yourself CONSTANTLY that Romania need to win this.

Edward June 19, 20169:13 pm

Djourou’s feeble back pass is immediately picked up by a quick-witted Griezmann and Switzerland have to rely on a saving tackle from Valon Behrami to save their blushes. There’s a brief pause in the match as the ball, presumably sewn together in the same place that makes the Swiss team’s kit, pops with the indignity of it all. That is the second time this tournament that a ball has been burst by reasonably normal play.

Mark June 19, 20169:15 pm

Romania’s Alibec has just twisted his knee in an inadvisable direction. Twenty tons of “magic spray” have no effect, remarkably. Torje is on in his place.

Edward June 19, 20169:16 pm

SAVE. France break down the left and Antoine Griezmann’s strong shot is parried by Sommer in the Swiss goal. Sommer has been Switzerland’s most convincing player tonight, if only because he’s the only one whose kit hasn’t begun to decompose.

Mark June 19, 20169:17 pm

Also remarkably, Armando Sadiku is subbed too. He scored. He’s been good. He’s not limping. So. Why? WHY? Bekim Balaj is on in his place. Which doesn’t answer my question.

Mark June 19, 20169:20 pm

The substitutions have galvanised Romania. A bit. 63 minutes gone.

Edward June 19, 20169:21 pm

Good lord. France carve themselves an opportunity with some patient build up play, with Sagna neatly slotting Sissoko inside the full back, only for the pitch to give way underneath him. Who is the groundsman, Jacques Tati?

France make a change: Kingsley Coman is coman off, Dimitri Payet is introduced to the sound of palpable French relief.

Mark June 19, 20169:22 pm

Romania keeper Tatarusanu makes a semi-mess of a Memushaj shot. No chance of Albania sitting back on their lead, as Brotherton fears. Mainly because they probably need a second goal.

Mark June 19, 20169:25 pm

Tatarusanu, by the way, has “chocolate fingers” according to Lawrenson. No. Me neither.

Edward June 19, 20169:26 pm

Before this tournament kicked off, I predicted France would win it. I can now happily retract this prediction. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had retracted it within twenty minutes of their game with Romania.

Mark June 19, 20169:27 pm

And one more Romanian substitution. Its Andone (geddit?). Been listening to Lawro too long… (which sounds like the last line of a country music song)

Mark June 19, 20169:30 pm

Romania carve open the Albanian defence with their best move of the match by a mathematical impossibility. But they are flagged offside. Wrongly.

Edward June 19, 20169:32 pm

If England were to maintain their position on top of Group B, there’s a chance they could play the third-placed team from this group. Given that these two teams are the top two teams, I would suggest that this would be a very desirable draw. This match has been a bag full of nothing. A bag that probably burst due to shoddy manufacture.

Mark June 19, 20169:33 pm

Romania getting urgent. But Albania are tackling ferociously…and occasionally each other.

Edward June 19, 20169:35 pm

Lawks. Payet nearly opens the scoring. Sissoko pounds down the right flank and delivers a deep cross which the West Ham man somehow manages to wrangle into a controlled effort on goal. Unfortunately for him, us and everybody, it pings off of the crossbar, back down and out.

Two changes have also been made. Seferovic replaces Embolo for Switzerland, Matuidi replaces Griezmann for France.

Mark June 19, 20169:35 pm

CLLLLLLLLLOSE!!!! Andone smacks a right-footer against the crossbar. He and fellow sub Sanmartean have been busy. For all their faults, Romania could still fashion all three results here. 77 minutes.

Edward June 19, 20169:37 pm

Xherdan Shaqiri is withdrawn so that he can get in the queue at the bar. His replacement is Gelson Fernandez. Meanwhile, Dimitri Payet continues his one-man mission to drag France kicking and screaming all the way to Paris on 10th July, just firing wide to finish a move that he started.

Mark June 19, 20169:38 pm

Of course, a draw here would almost certainly knock out both teams, as Romania would finish third with two points. England would therefore have to look elsewhere for their desirable draw. For some reason, Martin O’Neill’s face sprang to mind as I typed that.

Mark June 19, 20169:40 pm

“The Albanian fans sound like they are going off to war, in a nice sort of way” (Lawro). And they are certainly bouncing, metaphorically and literally. Stanku fires over when well-placed, slipping at the vital moment. 83 minutes.

Edward June 19, 20169:41 pm

A draw in Lyon would, of course, be marvellous news for Northern Ireland. Could God be from County Antrim? Let’s find out.

Edward June 19, 20169:42 pm

Granit Xhaka has torn his second shirt of the night. The chances of the remainder of this match having to go shirts versus skins is growing by the minute.

Mark June 19, 20169:42 pm

Albania have made a defensive substitution, with captain Cana (sent off against Switzerland) roared onto the pitch by the nicely warmongering fans. Inadvisable?

Edward June 19, 20169:44 pm

Admir Mehmedi is the final Swiss substitution, replaced by Michael Lang.

Mark June 19, 20169:44 pm

Albanian players exhorting their fans to make some noise at every opportunity. No need whatsoever. Especially when Mavraj hits the side-netting and half of them think its in. 87 minutes.

Edward June 19, 20169:45 pm

A handball from Schar gives France a free kick in Payet Territoryâ„¢. Unfortunately, the ball ricochets off of the side of Matuidi’s nut, thus making us all look completely foolish.

Edward June 19, 20169:46 pm

This match has been fucking horse shit.

Edward June 19, 20169:47 pm

Into time added on now. In keeping with the great Swiss invention, Dignitas, I would have suggested they added no additional time. Alas…

Mark June 19, 20169:48 pm

The Romanian half of this one hasn’t been much better. Albania have been. And they are on top in the closing stages. Five minutes stoppo has just started.

Mark June 19, 20169:51 pm

Cana heads a decent chance at Chocolate Fingers. Torje booked for pushing over a random Albanian player for random reasons. Sums up their evening, of which only 90 seconds remain.

Edward June 19, 20169:51 pm

Switzerland are denied a stonewall penalty because France are playing in France and the referee’s brain froze. And that’s your lot. Full time: France 0-0 Switzerland. Both teams will be in the second round and neither team will be in the quarter final, judging by this shit. We need to talk about Euro 2016. Every time I read, see or hear anything about the tournament it is people saying how wonderful it has been. I think they are deluding themselves. No goals, no creativity and lazy finishing here tonight, a malaise that has afflicted the entire summer so far.

Mark June 19, 20169:52 pm

Stanciu shoots wildly over, possibly hitting the same fan as the last three Romanian sky-high efforts. That should be that.

Mark June 19, 20169:55 pm

Albania win. What a wonderful tournament, eh Ed? Three points and a minus two goal difference is the target for the other third-placers. They could be through. Pity Bhasin has just called the scorer Armando Sudoku.

Mark June 19, 201610:02 pm

Given that Albania finished ahead of Denmark in qualifying, having won in Portugal, their classification as “minnows” isn’t entirely accurate, if understandable. Coverage of their progress has therefore dipped too often into patronising. Still, bless their cotton socks. And well done. Bye bye Romania. Forgotten you already.

Tomorrow…England, Wales, Slovakia and Russia…with most of you presumably hoping it will be in that order this time tomorrow…

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