Another late, late French show sees the hosts safely through to the later stages of Euro 2016

Another late, late French show sees the hosts safely through to the later stages of Euro 2016
Can Lloris keep a clean sheet today? (photo: vavel)

Well, that's all from me, Alex Howell. I hope you've enjoyed our comprehensive coverage of France's 2-0 victory over Albania. Be sure to check out the rest of our coverage, as Vavel provides minute by minute of every single piece of action throughout Euro 2016.

The result sees France move up to six points, and as previously mentioned move into the later rounds of the tournament. Albania remain on zero points. Switzerland look favourites to head through along with the French.

Honorable mentions have to go to Antoine Greizmann and Dimitri Payet, evidently. Greizmann did superbly to finish the late chance, especially after coming off the bench. Whilst for Payet, I don't think words are needed. A fitting way for him to finish off his return to his old stomping ground.

Man of the Match? It's a hard one, but you'd be hard to look any further than Blaise Matuidi. The Paris Saint Germain midfielder was all over the pitch and was a mainstay in the reason why the French sustained such pressure on the Albanian's.

As for the French, it's the second game they've had to wait until late on for a winner. They haven't impressed, but that may come as a sign of encouragement for Didier Deschamps as Les Bleus are the first side to qualify for the Last 16.

Jubilation for the French players, as Albanian hearts are broken.
Jubilation for the French players, as Albanian hearts are broken.

This is probably the end of their tournament, but Euro 2016 has definitely been a success for the rugged Balkan territory. As is often said, the performances put in by the Eagles will go much further than simpe victories.

You can't help but feel sorry for Albania. De Biasi's side had done everything to spoil the party in Provence, but in the end succumbed to the class of their opponents late, late on.

Full time: That's it, the game is over in Marseille. France eventually run out 2-0 victors in a late, late show.

90+5: Paul Pogba sets Gignac away from deep, the striker now playing his trade in Mexico cuts inside and finds the man of the moment Dimitri Payet. In his usual style, the West Ham man weave in and out of tackles before curling an effort beyond a hapless Berisha. France 2-0 Albania.


90+4: Play is stopped, as Mavraj and Koscinely clash heads. We'll be going right to the wire here.

90+2: We started the night with a rendition of "Les Marseillaise" and now the famous French hymn echo's around the impervious Marseille stadium once again.

90+1: Dn't write off the Eagles off here. The plucky nation play with their hearts on their sleeves and will throw everything at Hugo Lloris and the French defence in the five minutes of added time.

90: It came from the most unlikely source. Centre half Adil Rami provided a pin-point cross for the Atleti man to expertly nod into the far corner and send the vast majority of the Stade Vélodrome crowd into raptures.

90: My, oh my. It's happened again. It was that man, Antoine Greizmann, who has nodded Les Bleus into a late lead. Heartbreak for Albania.


88: Kanté is the second man in the book. A cynical foul on Lenjani, who was breaking away.

85: The Stade Vélodrome crowd are doing all they can to will their side on to a late victory. The chant of "Allez Les Bleus" rings out, and the French Tri-colore is hoisted around the stadium by the number of flags present. 

84: Kanté goes close. The Leicester midfielder's effort is deflected by Mavraj and goes just inches wide of Berisha's post. 

83: It's all France now. Albania are spent and simply hoping to escape with what would be a remarkable point. Les Bleus are pouring men forward, for a victory that would assure qualification. 

79: This time it's Sagna's turn to fire one over, as the Manchester City man blazes over after some tricky play by that man again, Payet.

77: Final throw of the dice by Didier Deschamps. It's a straight swap, as Pierre André Gignac replaces Olivier Giroud.

74: Taulant Xhaka enters the play, to provide the Albanian midfield with some more legs. The brother of Granit, was a surprise omission from the starting eleven.

73: Albania are tiring, only a further twenty or so minutes for the Eagles to hold on for what would be a historic draw.

69: Even closer from Giroud!! The big, 6ft 3" striker this time hits the base of the Albanian post. They're getting closer and closer...

68: Antoine Greizman enters the proceedings. France are going for it now!

67: So close, Olivier Giroud! A firm tackle by Matuidi, then onto Kingsley Coman who once again presented the French attackers with a superb delivery. Yet Giroud should've done better as he flashed his header wide.

65: Another France corner. This time after some superb powerful Paul Pogba play. Yet it results in nothing, as Etrit Berisha eventually claims the scraps.

63: A half chance for France, coming in one of the most unexpected forms - Laurent Koscienly. The Arsenal central defender had stayed forward from a corner and headed over Bacary Sagna's follow up cross. It was a difficult chance in all fairness.

62: Pressure once again building for the French. Albania, at this moment in time, are not able to keep the ball nor get out of their own half.

59: So far it's safe to say, the second half is shaping up much better than the first. I think we're in for a treat in the remaining half an hour.

55: First booking of the game, and it is Burim Kukeli who see's yellow for a professional foul on Kingsley Coman - who looked to break away.

54: Paul Pogba! So unlucky! The Juventus star smashes a volley just over the Albanian crossbar, after a similarly brilliant delivery from Payet. It's heating up here in Marseille!

52: Albania hit the post!! Hysaj whips in a delightful cross into the French six yard box and courtesy of a deflection via Bacary Sagna, Hugo Lloris' post is rattled. The follow up can't be converted as comically it hits Sadiku on the head and out of play. Huge let off for the French.

51: Albania offered some respite from the early French onslaught. A number of freekicks have stemmed the flow of the French forays.

47: The impetus is firmly with the French here. Dimitri Payet, hero of the Stade de France, bends a deep freekick through everyone and nearly troubles Berisha.

46: Almost the perfect start for France! Blaise Matuidi deflects a Payet cross, and Coman nicks in to get his head onto the follow up. Unfortunately for the youngster, it trickles just wide. Lenjani had done well to do just enough to put Coman off.

45: We're back underway in Marseille!

The sides are back out onto the Stade Vélodrome pitch. Indeed, France have made one those changes muted. It's Paul Pogba for Anthony Martial as Deschamps reverts back to his favoured 4-3-3.

A side with more quality than Albania may very well have punished Deschamp's hosts with the situations they found themselves in, and will prove a very stern warning if Les Bleus are to progress deep into the tournament. 

Yet for Albania, this is exactly what Giovanni De Biasi will have wanted from his side. They've been strong in defence and have grown in confidence going forward with every passing minute. It seems the Italian's game plan is working to a tee.

In what was a real stop-start opening forty five in the Stade Vélodrome, it appears that Didier Deschamp changes haven't come to fruition. Can we expect to see Paul Pogba and Antoine Greizmann soon?

Well what can we say, a real contest of opposing sides here in Marseille.

Half time: Referee William Collum blows for the half time interval.

45+1: Some real late half pressure from the visitors. Although they've been unable to forge any real chances.

44: It was Ledian Memushaj that took it, although unfortunately for Albania it was too high and easily over Lloris goal.

43: A freekick in an extremely good position for the Eagles, Albania. Patrice Evra adjudged to have committed dangerous play, in a coming together with Sadiku.

42: More capable Albanian defending. This time Ajeti's central defensive partner, Mërgim Mavraj denying Martial once again as he looked to slip through Olivier Giroud.

40: The following corner results in nothing. Yet, Albania continue to grow in spirit and confidence the longer this remains goalless.

39: A chance for the visitors on the following set-piece. Played short to Lenjani in the heart of the French penalty area, but the FC Nantes man was unable to get clear contact on the strike. 

38: Corner for Albania. Laurent Koscienly expertly deals with a freekick from deep, at the expense of a corner.

35: Beautiful play from Kingsley Coman. The Bayern Munich man, largely anonymous until now, pirouetted around Burim Kukeli who had looked favourite for the ball. Although the 20 year old's end product didn't match the skill previous to it, and sailed gratefully into the grasp of Berisha.

32: In their changed strip of all white, Albania are growing in confidence by the minute. They've starved the hosts of any chances and are growing in spirit with every foray into the French half. 

29: Frustrating for the French. The build up play at times has been superb, but the final product isn't there and the chances have gone begging. Especially in the form of Martial on the left hand flank.

25: Chance for Albania! Hysaj's volleyed delivery is deflected off Martial, and Sadiku is inches away from poking the visitors into a lead.

24: Some real space for Albania to counter attack into. The French are pouring men forward, and if worked well Giovanni De Biassi's side could forge a chance or two.

21: Superb interception from Ajeti! The Eagles defender snuffing Martial out again, as the Manchester United striker looked certain to test Etrit Berisha.

18: Strong defending so far from the Albanian's. Two French set pieces cleared with eased, despite an Ajeti shanked clearance leading to a corner.

15: France are growing into this game. The midfield duo of Matuidi and Kanté stifling Albanian attacks, before sending their attacking team-mates on their way. Anthony Martial looks ever the threat.

14: First shot in anger. Lenjani once again at the fore, driving forwards in the French half before blazing a shot from some 20 yards well over Hugo Lloris' crossbar.

11: No real chances for either side as of yet, with nothing to seperate the two. Payet and Lenjani with overhit crosses, the only things of note.

10: Strong start from the Balkan underdogs, Albania. Resolute in defence and willing in offense, the Eagles look to prove a stern test for the French tonight.

7: Strong start from Arlind Ajeti, the central defender filling in for Albania in the absence of national pin-up Lorik Cana. The burly Basel central defender doing well to ease Anthony Martial from the ball in a dangerous position.

4: A tame start here. France keeping the ball well, whilst their Albanian counterparts attempt to press on every given opportunity.

0: We're off in Marseille! France get us underway.

Marseille has proved an integral part in the career of Les Bleus boss, Didier Deschamps. The former L'OM man will be hoping his old hunting ground will prove a good omen for his side.

Now it's the turn of the French masses to produce their own rendition of their national hymn, Les Marseillais. The song dating back to the French Revolution has been traced back to Marseille, and this evening's recreation is certainly fitting for the revolutionaries that produced it some 250 years ago.

Backed by their large contingent of traveling supporters, the Albanian national anthem blares out to a hearty rendition of the song known as Himni i Flamurit.

The 22 players take to the field, whilst the on pitch spectacle flows into full force. 

Both sets of players are in the tunnel. Moments away from kick off here in the South of France.

The French tri-color is being waved by the large swathes 0f the 63,000 capacity crowd that are out in support of the hosts. Meanwhile, the pre-match formalities are being carried out as both nations national strips are placed on the Stade Vélodrome turf.

The atmosphere here in the Provençal capital is growing by the moment, with a little over ten minutes until the big kick-off. Both sets have took to their seats, in what is proving a real raucous event.

France on the other hand know a victory will secure them a place in the Last 16 on home turf. Enough motivation, if any was needed, for Les Bleus eleven this eve. 

It'll be a tough ask for Albania tonight. The Balkan state only managed eight goals in qualification, if you take away the three awarded in the farcical victory against Serbia. Tonight, they'll be up against some of the best defenders in the competition, whilst the rued chances in the defeat versus Switzerland will still be fresh in the memory. 

More on tonights referee, William Collum. The Scot officiated in this seasons Champions League and Europa League. Expect cards a plenty this evening; in his five European games this season Collum handed out 23 yellow cards, as well as two reds. 

Here's the scene tonight in Marseille, as both sets of fans take to their seats with only forty five minutes remaining until kick off.
Here's the scene tonight in Marseille, as both sets of fans take to their seats with only forty five minutes remaining until kick off.

Giovanni de Biasi has made three changes to the Eagles starting eleven. The Italian was only expected to name a single change, that of Basel's central defender Arlind Ajeti for the suspended Lorik Cana. However, both Ledian Memushaj and Andi Lila are the other two afforded a starting place at the Stade Vélodrome.

Now for Albania. Berisha; Hysaj, Ajeti, Mavraj, Agolli; Kukelli; Lila, Abrashi, Memushaj, Lenjani; Sadiku.

It appears Deschamps has reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Apart from the two notable omissions, it is the same starting eleven that defeated Romania on Friday night.

Here's the French line-up in full. Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscienly, Evra; Matuidi, Kanté; Coman, Payet, Martial; Giroud.

The line-ups are in, and as expected Deschamps has omitted two star names. Namely Antoine Greizmann and Paul Pogba. Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Bayern Munich's Kinglsey Coman are the men to enter the starting eleven.

This evening's referee in Marseille will be Scotsman, William Collum. The 37 year old was previously the fourth official in Croatia's 1-0 victory over Turkey at the Parc des Princes.

Just under ten minutes until the team line-ups are announced. Will Didier Deschamps, controversally, make changes to the Les Bleus starting eleven?

Deschamps is clearly showing respect for Albania ahead of today's game, having labelled them as "very organised" in his pre-match press conference, thanks in large to their "Italian coach who has done a very good job". You can learn a little more about Gianni De Biasi's work in the Albania tournament preview, here. For more of Deschamp's comments in the build-up, go here

A win tonight for the hosts would seal their qualification for the last 16, whilst you'd still expect them to get through even if they suffered a defeat. For Albania, a win would give them a great chance of getting through, whilst a draw or defeat would set up a must win game against Romania in their last group game. 

However, despite being underdogs tonight, Albania did defeat France the last time they met, just a year ago. The French side were on a horrendous run of form at the time, losing three games in a four match period, and Albania took advantage as midfielder Ergys Kace curled a free-kick into the top corner. The good news for France is that they were unbeaten in three games against Albania before then, and have won 10 of their last 11 matches in total, taking good form into this one. 

Despite their opening defeat, you shouldn't expect too many Albanian changes after the forced one due to suspension. They're chasing their first ever points at a European Championship, but the odds are against them. 

It'll be interesting to see whether or not France boss Didier Deschamps changes his team around much, given a fairly disappointing opening performance, despite the win. Star players Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann were singled out as having underperformed, but you'd be extremely surprised if they lost their places. Some of the defenders may have reason to worry, having put in a disjointed performance against the Romanians. 

Unfortunately for Albania, they were on the end of a loss in their first game, going down 1-0 to Switzerland on Saturday. Fabian Schar's early goal did the damage, although Albania were denied by several good saves from Yann Sommer. They'll be without captain Lorik Cana today, after he was dismissed for two yellow cards. 

Payet mobbed after scoring the winner (photo: getty images)
Payet mobbed after scoring the winner (photo: getty images)

Indeed, it was France who picked up the first three points of the tournament last Friday, beating Romania 2-1 at the Stade de France. They went ahead in the second half through Olivier Giroud, only for Bogdan Stancu to cancel that out with a penalty soon after. It looked like they were going to draw, only for Dimitri Payet to step up with a marvellous long range winner in the 89th minute. 

So, it's the second game for each team at the tournament, with only one having won their opener, as the tournament got underway last Friday. 

This evening's coverage will be brought to you by me, Alex Howell, in what certainly proves to be one of the most interesting clashes of the tournament so far. The much fancied, ever impervious, hosts, Les Bleus competing against one of the tournaments minnows and indeed a side at their first international tournament, the Eagles, Albania.

Good evening to one and all, and welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute commentary of tonight's UEFA European Championship game between France and Albania, contested at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Kick-off is set for 8PM BST, but stick with us until then as we get the team news, and preview the game ahead of the start.