Switzerland v France, Sunday June 19
Lille, Live on BBC, 8pm
The final matches in Group A take place on Sunday evening when Romania take on Albania in Lyon and France meet Switzerland in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille (8pm, BBC). Both teams are already guaranteed to finish in the top 3, but the the team who wins this one will be guaranteed of top spot in the group. Should Switzerland win, France will finish as group runners up, but a French win could knock Switzerland down into third place depending on the other result in Group A.
Switzerland – the story so far
Underwhelming is perhaps the best way to describe Switzerland’s Euro 2016 campaign so far. They sneaked past Albania in their first match despite having the luxury of an early goal and more than 45 minutes against a side who were down to ten men, and in their second match against Romania they missed a number of presentable chances before going a goal down to Anghel Iordansecu’s side. The fact they were able to come back thanks to Admir Mehmedi’s excellent second half volley showed a bit of character, but again they failed to convert a number of late opportunities – Haris Seferović in particular has come in for criticism from the Swiss fans.
In this match, I simply don’t see enough motivation for the Swiss to have a real go at the French and try and win the game. Holding out for a draw, would suit both teams, and I think the Swiss would settle for a runners up spot in Group A and last 16 match against the runners up of Group C (one of Germany, Poland & Norn Ireland).
France – the story so far
Lucky b**tards, that’s what they are. 3 late, late strikes have turned what could have been 2 points from 2 games into 6 points from 2 games. You can’t fault the spirit of Didier Deschamps’ men, and so long as they play in this tournament they will now feel that they are capable of scoring goals, no matter how long is left on the clock. Against Albania in their second match they did at least look far more comfortable in a defensive sense, restricting Albania to half chances at best. Against Romania in their opening game, Patrice Evra looked past his best and the defensive duo of Laurent Koscielny and Adil Rami looked unfamiliar, but thankfully these problems seemed less apparent in their second match together.
There are still major line-up headaches for Didier Deschamps. In the opening game, he started with Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann in midfield, both of whom who proved themselves to be utterly ineffective. It wasn’t until Kingsley Coman and Anthony Martial came on that France finally broke Romanian’s resistance. In the second match, Deschamps gambled by dropping Pogba and Griezmann and opting to start the two lads who had turned the game for France in the opening match. This time Coman and especially Anthony Martial stank the Stade Velodrome out and were both lucky to last as long as they did before being substituted. This time Griezmann got the crucial goal, but who knows where this leaves France for their third match?
One man who is in absolutely no danger of being left out of the line up is star of the tournament to date, Dimitri Payet. He has two in two and has been the heartbeat of the French side to date. With qualification already in the bag, Didier Deschamps may chose to roll the dice once again with his selections in a bid to find the right combination of players to take France through the knock-out phases.
- Dimitri Payet to score anytime @
- France to win by exactly two goals @
- Giroud and Payet both to score @
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