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Payet Scores Again As France Beat Plucky Albania, Advance

Payet Scores Again As France Beat Plucky Albania, Advance

Hosts France became the first country to qualify for the round of 16 of this year’s European Championship after beating hard-fighting Albania 1-0 on Wednesday at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet, his second in two games, secured the win for France.

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France had an early chance in the fourth minute with Olivier Giroud connecting with Payet’s cross which went over the bar.

Minutes later, Giroud met another cross from Payet but failed to hit the target.

At the start of the second half, Paul Pogba replaced Anthony Martial.

France continued from where they left off in the first half and came close to opening the scoring through Kingsley Coman but his header went just wide.

Albania had their first real chance on 51 minutes which came off the post before bouncing away for a goal kick.

Two minutes later Payet sent in a cross with the outside of his boot but Pogba’s attempt went just over the bar.

In the 67th minute Giroud’s glancing header from Coman’s cross narrowly missed the target.

Giroud had another opportunity a minute later which hit the post.

France made their second change with Griezman replacing Coman.

On 79 minutes Bacary Sagna could not keep his volley down as he blasted his effort wide from inside the 18-yard.

N’Golo Kante hit a long range shot on 84 minutes but it came off an Albanian player away for a corner.

In the 90th minute the deadlock was finally opened as Griezman put France in front, heading in Adil Rami’s cross.

And in the final minute of added time, Payet sealed the win for France, cutting in from the left before curling the ball beyond the reach of Albania’s keeper.

France, on six points, will take on Switzerland on Sunday in their final group game while Albania and Romania will do battle also on Sunday.

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