Switzerland hold France to reach last 16

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Highlights: Switzerland 0-0 France

Switzerland and France played out a Euro 2016 goalless draw which took the Swiss into the last 16 and saw the French win Group A.

Paul Pogba – recalled by France in one of five changes – was lively and hit the woodwork twice in the first half.

French substitute Dimitri Payet also struck the crossbar with a brilliant volley from Moussa Sissoko’s cross.

Switzerland could have had a penalty when Bacary Sagna pulled Blerim Dzemaili’s shirt in injury time.

France will now play a third-placed team in Lyon on Sunday, while the Swiss will play the second-placed team in Group C, who are currently Poland but could be Germany or Northern Ireland, at Saint-Etienne the day before.

With Albania beating Romania 1-0, Switzerland would have progressed even if they had lost at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.

  • Who will go through and who needs what to qualify
  • Group A finale as it happened, plus reaction
  • Groups and schedules: Plot your side’s route to the final


France still don’t know their best team


Substitute Dimitri Payet (left) had 19 touches – 13 more than Kingsley Coman, the man he replaced in the 63rd minute

BBC pundit and France legend Thierry Henry put it best when he said his country go into the knockout stages not knowing their best 11.

France coach Didier Deschamps has changed his side in each game, with Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, who had been dropped for the 2-0 win against Albania, starting again after impressing off the bench in that game.

Juventus midfielder Pogba was the first half’s outstanding player. He cleared a chance off the line, had a shot tipped onto the bar, forced another save from Yann Sommer and then smashed the ball against the bar with a swerving strike after a bursting run.

However, it was a different story in the second half, with the period only coming to life when Payet – the star of the tournament so far – came off the bench to a huge reception from the crowd.

The West Ham playmaker almost gave them the lead with a stunning volley after Sissoko’s excellent run and cross down the right, seeing his effort come back off the bar.

Having scored in the 89th minute against Romania in the opening match and deep in injury time against Albania, he again had a chance for a late strike but his 87th-minute free-kick, which looked goalbound, hit a Frenchman in the wall.

Swiss hold their own against the hosts


The pitch at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy was poor, despite the stadium having a roof, with neither side able to train there before the game

Switzerland have not beaten France in seven meetings now and rarely looked like ending that run, failing to hit the target with six shots – three were off target and three blocked.

However, they played well – a long way from their 5-2 hammering by Les Bleus at the 2014 World Cup – and had 58% possession.

They could even have topped the group above the hosts had they been awarded a penalty at the end when Sagna fouled Dzemaili.

This is the first time they have qualified for the knockout stages of a European Championship, at the fourth attempt.

New balls please. Shirts too


Granit Xhaka – one of four Swiss players to have the problem – had to change his shirt twice because of ripping

It was a strange game where on at least five occasions a Swiss player’s shirt was ripped. Midfielder Granit Xhaka, who joins Arsenal this summer, ended the game on his third jersey.

The ball even burst in the second half when when Valon Behrami stood on the ball while tackling Griezmann.


Valon Behrami took the wind out of France’s attack, as well as the air out of the ball, with his tackle

Man of the match – Xhaka

Xhaka has cost Arsenal £35m from Borussia Monchengladbach and, on his displays so far at Euro 2016, he looks a stellar signing.

After two games he had the second most touches and passes in the tournament, behind Toni Kroos.

And he topped the charts for both against France, having 105 touches and 94 passes, with an 89% completion rate. For comparison, Pogba had the ball most for France with 73 touches, passing it 46 times with 78.3% accuracy.

The view from the managers

France coach Didier Deschamps: “The pitch is annoying. I don’t know who is responsible. We are only in the group stage and it is in a state.

“But for a great goalkeeper and a few centimetres, we would have scored goals. You can always criticise but we kept a clean sheet and we finished top of the group.

“Every match is difficult. Apart from Spain, one or two examples, everyone is finding it tough.

“Paul Pogba was the life-force of the match in the first half, he was the heart and soul. In the second half he didn’t get forward but he has huge potential and I have huge confidence in him.”

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic: “It’s a significant achievement but the first step forward was this, our minimum objective. We played well, we held firm and now we know we will play on Saturday.

“We need to rest up and now other sides deserve to run and play against us. We’re relaxed, and we’ll be trying to win the game and not just do ourselves credit.

“I think we were excellent in the first half, in the second half it was tricky with the playing surface and we faded a bit. We kept our heads up, but we must do better in the last third of the pitch.

“It [the pitch] hampered the quality of the game, it does not hold up well and I hope they can fix it, but it was the same for both sides.”

The game in numbers

20: The game had 20 shots (including blocked), the third lowest at Euro 2016 (16 – Republic of Ireland v Sweden, 12 – Italy v Sweden).

15: However, the first half saw 15 shots – only three Euro 2016 games have seen that many or more in the first half and Switzerland have been involved in two of those (16 v Romania).

54: Hugo Lloris has captained France 54 times – a joint record with Didier Deschamps, the current France boss.

9: Yohan Cabaye made nine tackles against Switzerland; no other player has made more in a game at Euro 2016.

Live Text

Match ends, Switzerland 0, France 0.

Second Half ends, Switzerland 0, France 0.

Attempt blocked. Dimitri Payet (France) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Hand ball by Fabian Schär (Switzerland).

Substitution, Switzerland. Michael Lang replaces Admir Mehmedi.

Offside, Switzerland. Admir Mehmedi tries a through ball, but Blerim Dzemaili is caught offside.

Laurent Koscielny (France) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Stephan Lichtsteiner (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Laurent Koscielny (France).

Attempt missed. Dimitri Payet (France) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Paul Pogba.

Substitution, Switzerland. Gelson Fernandes replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.

Foul by Haris Seferovic (Switzerland).

Adil Rami (France) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, France. Blaise Matuidi replaces Antoine Griezmann.

Dimitri Payet (France) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko with a cross.

Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yohan Cabaye (France).

Substitution, Switzerland. Haris Seferovic replaces Breel Embolo.

Foul by Admir Mehmedi (Switzerland).

Adil Rami (France) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Switzerland. Stephan Lichtsteiner tries a through ball, but Breel Embolo is caught offside.

Corner, Switzerland. Conceded by Yohan Cabaye.

Substitution, France. Dimitri Payet replaces Kingsley Coman.

Foul by Breel Embolo (Switzerland).

Paul Pogba (France) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Patrice Evra (France).

Corner, France. Conceded by Yann Sommer.

Attempt saved. Antoine Griezmann (France) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by André-Pierre Gignac.

Attempt saved. André-Pierre Gignac (France) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Moussa Sissoko.

Offside, Switzerland. Xherdan Shaqiri tries a through ball, but Ricardo Rodríguez is caught offside.

Corner, Switzerland. Conceded by Bacary Sagna.

Corner, Switzerland. Conceded by Yohan Cabaye.

Second Half begins Switzerland 0, France 0.

First Half ends, Switzerland 0, France 0.

Attempt missed. Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Ricardo Rodríguez.

Attempt blocked. Ricardo Rodríguez (Switzerland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Granit Xhaka.

Breel Embolo (Switzerland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Paul Pogba (France).

Foul by Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland).

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