Tournament hosts, France have qualified for the knockout stage of the European Championship after two late goals from Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet saw them beat Albania 2-0 in their second Group A game on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
Dubbed as one of Euro 2016 favourites, the hosts struggled past a side ranked 42nd in the world, and were very nearly on the end of a major upset with Albania rattling a post.
But just as Albania looked set to register their first ever point at an international tournament, Atletico Madrid forward, Griezmann came off the bench to head home the opener in the 90th minute before West Ham United’s Payet added a second deep into injury time.
In the earlier game in Group A, Switzerland were held to a 1-1 draw by a resolute Romania in Paris.
The Romanians, who earned their first point of the competition with the draw, took an early lead against the favoured Swiss through a Bogdan Stancu penalty.
Switzerland then struck back after the break through a thunderous Admir Mehmedi strike in the 57th minute from a corner.
Also on Wednesday, Marek Hamsik was the star of the show as Slovakia beat Russia 2-1 in Lille in Group B.
A raking cross-field pass from Hamsik picked out Vladimir Weiss after 32 minutes, who cut inside before picking out the far corner to open the scoring.
And it was Hamsik who repeated the trick shortly before half-time, cutting back on to his right foot and bending a beautiful shot in off the far post.
A header from substitute Denis Glushakov pulled one back for Russia with 10 minutes remaining, but it was too little too late from Leonid Slutsky’s lacklustre side.
The result leaves Russia likely to need a win from their final group game against Wales to avoid elimination, while Slovakia, who face England in their final match, now have a good chance of progressing to the knockout stage.