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You are here: Football Euros Euro 2016: Late Late Show from France seals Knockout berth

Euro 2016: Late Late Show from France seals Knockout berth

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Dmitri PayetHosts France beat a dogged Albanian side by 2-0 in Marseille to book their place in the knockout rounds of Euro 2016 on Wednesday. Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet both scored late goals to give France a deserved win over the minnows.

The Atletico Madrid forward, initially named as a substitute, headed home with just a minute of normal time remaining, from Adil Rami's superb cross from the right flank, and Payet added his second goal of the tournament with a terrific injury-time finish after the ball broke kindly to him at the end of a swift counter attack,

France had previously wasted numerous opportunities to take the lead against the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, with Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud guilty of missing a number of gilt-edged chances in Marseille. Giroud, who was starved off service for the better part of an hour, suddenly got two opportunities in quick succession as France finally realized that the only way they were going to break down a stubborn Albanian defence was to get their players out wide and put some crosses in.

Kingsley Coman, starting last night ahead of Paul Pogba, put in a delicious cross with his left foot, but Giroud put his glancing header wide of the target. A better opportunity was to present itself a little later with Giroud this time hitting the post with his towering header.

Unable to provide his team the breakthrough, Giroud was eventually replaced by former Marseille striker Pierre-Andre Gignac, a decision that unsurprisingly proved very popular with the home fans.

Albania had defended brilliantly for large periods of the game, and would have deserved the point they almost got out of it, but the two late goals certainly left them wilting, while Les Bleus celebrated, confirming their spot in the latter stages of the competition.