Live Updates

Full-time: France 2-0 Albania

That is just about all we have time for tonight, but join us again tomorrow for another feast of Euro 2016 football. We begin with the small matter of a Group B grudge match between England and Wales in Lens from 14.00 BST, before moving on to Northern Ireland's clash with Ukraine at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

IBTimes UK will also have live coverage of the evening fixture between rivals Germany and Poland in Paris. Goodnight.

A cruel, cruel end to an otherwise stellar outing from Albania, who gave everything for the cause and can count themselves thoroughly unlucky not to have held on for a historic point. Once his frustration have eased, an animated Di Biasi will be rightly proud of his players. Technically they are not out of the tournament yet, although will need to beat Romania in Lyon on Sunday evening to keep alive their slim hopes of progressing as one of the four best third-placed teams.

As for France, who round off the initial phase against Switzerland in Lille, they are now guaranteed a spot in the last 16 and leapfrog their neighbours to lead Group A once more with six points. Tonight's performance was hardly impressive for the most part, but they are quickly developing a reputation for late heroics that could serve them very well indeed throughout the competition.

Deschamps' changes in formation and personnel clearly did not work, but he recognised that and was not too proud to revert back to his previous XI. Les Bleus showed a far greater intensity after the break and eventually their formidable strength in depth proved the difference.


France 2-0 Albania

And that, as they say, is that. France seal the latest of victories as Payet joins Romania's Stancu as the only players to have scored twice at Euro 2016 so far.

With Albania pushing their centre-backs forward in the vain hope of finding an equaliser, Pogba sweeps a long pass out to Gignac. He is initially held up, but Payet collects possession and cuts inside Xhaka before curling his shot around the outstretched fingertips of Berisha.

Game over.

Dimitri Payet
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Goal: France 2-0 Albania (Dimitri Payet)

A brief stoppage in play now after a clash of heads between Koscielny and Mavraj. The Albania defender looks to have come off worse.

Five minutes of added time for crestfallen Albania to get back on level terms.

Heartbreak for plucky Albania as the Stade Velodrome erupts to the sound of an 89th-minute winner. Rami sends over a cross from the right-hand side, which the unmarked Griezmann deftly heads beyond Berisha and into the bottom corner.

Veseli made a late move to try and cover the Atletico Madrid forward, but his intervention was much too late.

Antoine Griezmann

Goal: France 1-0 Albania (Antoine Griezmann)

Pogba takes a good ball on his chest and looks to be revving up a volley, only to slip at the vital moment. Agolli instigates a counter attack and Kante is then booked for bringing down Lenjani.

A low drive from Kante is deflected wide for a corner. Albania are forced into their last substitution, with another of the Swiss-born contingent, Freddie Veseli, coming on for the injured Ajeti.

For the umpteenth time tonight, Payet floats in a lovely free-kick. With defensive partner Rami drifting beyond him, Koscielny misses his attempt at a header at the back post.

It's just not happening for France. Yet.

Laurent Koscielny

Payet, who came up trumps for his country in the latter stages against Romania, weaves into the box. His cross is headed away by Agolli as far as Sagna, who fires a volley over the top.

Amir Abrashi is cautioned for tripping Matuidi, who needs no second invitation to get forward now after remaining deep before half-time.

Deschamps makes his final change. Former Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is treated to a hero's welcome by the home supporters after replacing Giroud, who receives a smattering of boos.

Can the Tigres UANL man make the difference?

Memushaj is clearly fouled by Kante. The referee inexplicably decides not to award a free-kick and France play on. Kukeli then picks up a knock and makes way for Xhaka.

If Albania do not make it to the last 16, then that will be the last we see of the combative FC Zurich midfielder.

15 minutes plus stoppage time left for somebody to find a winner at the Stade Velodrome.

Coman finds Giroud unmarked in the penalty area, but the Arsenal frontman fails to test Berisha with a header that flies off target. His next effort is much better and crashes against the outside of the post. So unlucky.

Griezmann is on for Coman, while Albania have replaced Lila with Roshi.

Olivier Giroud
Lars Baron/Getty Images

France force a couple more corners in a bid to maintain their new-found intensity, but still Albania hold firm. Griezmann prepares to enter the fray.

Koscielny looks to the heavens in frustration as he rises above Mavraj to glance yet another inviting Payet ball well over. That was a difficult chance, in fairness. Still 0-0.

An hour gone and France have considerably upped the ante in Marseille, but Albania have come closest to taking the lead and still retain a real threat of their own.

More impressive defending from Ajeti sees him cut out a low cross from Pogba.

Totally against the run of play, Albania strike the woodwork when a Lenjani cross hits Memushaj and is inadvertently deflected against the post by Sagna. A hopeful header from the floor then bobbles wide.

At the other end, a lovely cross with the outside of the boot from Payet is turned narrowly over the crossbar by substitute Pogba. Coman also flashes a shot wide after being poleaxed by Kukeli, who will now miss the final group game against Romania after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament.

Ledian Memushaj
Lars Baron/Getty Images

Far more purpose from France now, although no-one elects to gamble on another glorious Payet delivery. Matuidi also looks to burst through but brave Berisha comes out to punch the ball away.

Les Bleus settle back into their usual 4-3-3 shape and nearly edge ahead when Giroud's weak left-footed cross is helped on towards the back post by the head of Matuidi. Coman looks to apply the finishing touch, but a timely deflection steers the ball narrowly wide.

He is still playing out on the flanks, but Payet has been shifted out with Pogba in the middle.

France vs Albania is back underway. Deschamps puts the team before his own pride and admits tactical defeat by introducing Pogba at the break in place of Martial.

More from Lille now, where IBTimes UK reporter Paul Wright is on the ground and following events as they unfold. He reports that "at least 50 England and Wales fans were involved in a tense stand-off with French police after appearing to run riot through the streets of the city centre. Officers fired tear gas and beat back supporters with truncheons after they were seen kicking cars and shouting 'Come on, let's get them'"

Lille violence

Read Paul's full report here

A massively frustrating half for France, who have struggled for fluency and are yet to create any meaningful chances aside from a couple of hopeful Giroud headers. The formation/personnel changes from Deschamps do not look to being paying dividends up against a well-drilled and disciplined Albania backline.

Euro 2016's lowest-ranked team have been efficient in defence and have steadily become braver going forward as the game has progressed. A positive result certainly does not look beyond them here.


France 0-0 Albania

Olivier Giroud

An emboldened Albania win another late corner off Martial. The ball is aimed towards Mavraj and Rami clears as far Memushaj, whose ambitious volley from distance hits the offside Sadiku.

That should do it for the opening 45.

One minute of additional time signalled at the end of the first half.

Matuidi jumps and clatters Lila with an extremely high boot. As well as giving away a free-kick just outside his own penalty area, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder looks like he may have strained his groin. Both players leave the field to receive treatment before Memushaj's outswinging effort lands on the roof of the net.

Meanwhile, Evra is still moving around rather gingerly. Reserve left-back Lucas Digne continues to warm-up and is likely to be introduced at the break.

The Group A minnows come again when Hysaj sneaks in beyond Martial to the right touchline. He looks to tee up Sadiku, but there is too much power on the cross and it drifts over his head and away to safety.

Albania have demonstrated plenty of defensive qualities so far, but now they enjoy a sustain period of attacking pressure when Koscielny is forced to divert a searching delivery behind.

A couple of decent corners test France's resolve, but they survive.

Coman sets the pulses racing with a deft Zinedine Zidane-esque turn. Another free-kick offers Payet his latest chance to whip in a dangerous cross, which Giroud heads over after stealing a march on Mergim Mavraj.

Berisha was caught in no man's land for Schar's goal for Switzerland at the weekend, yet he is far more confident there to claim Payet's latest centre before it can reach the head of Rami. The offside flag was raised anyway.

Etrit Berisha

Martial, who has looked quite sluggish during this opening half an hour, is perplexed as the referee declines to award a free-kick following a robust tackle from Ajeti.

Albania remain resolute and very difficult to break down.

Sadiku goes to ground after a tough aerial challenge from Koscielny. France, much to their supporters' dismay, sportingly kick the ball out of play only for him to rise quickly back to his feet.

Martial shows great strength to turn away from Ajeti. Evra races forward on the overlap, but the pass is overhit and trickles behind.

Almost a chance for Albania. Impressive right-back Elseid Hysaj's early cross ricochets off Martial and is scooped up by Lloris with Armando Sadiku lurking.

Payet slips a clever pass into Martial, who neglects to shoot at the first time of asking and that hesitation allows Ajeti to make a crucial tackle. Memushaj then tries to spearhead a rapid Albania break, but it comes to an end with a shove on Koscielny.

Unconvincing defending from Ajeti, who slices badly at a dipping Payet cross and needlessly concedes a corner.

Still goalless with almost 20 minutes on the clock.

Martial gets his first chance to build up ahead of steam and hurtles into the penalty area with a straight run before trying to open up his boot for the shot only to see it blocked by Ajeti.

France then win another free-kick out wide but Burim Kukeli is alert to head clear.

Anthony Martial

Lenjani finds himself in a bit of space and unleashes a long-range effort that soars into row z. This has been something of a lacklustre start from France.

Albania are yet to trouble Hugo Lloris' goal but have embarked upon a couple of early forays forward. Ermir Lenjani looks to create an opening after Coman gives possession away but the attack comes to nothing as a cross sails out of play for a goal kick.

Evra looks to have recovered sufficiently as he raids down that left flank and flights in a cross towards Giroud, who fails to produce a decent header under pressure from Agolli.

Patrice Evra was the weak link for France against Romania and appears to be limping a little bit early on tonight. That could be something to keep an eye on as the match progresses.

Juventus' Bayern Munich loanee Coman, who is the youngest starter for France at a major competition aged just 20 years and two days, is already causing problems and wins a free-kick in a dangerous area after cutting inside two defenders and being dragged down by Ansi Agolli.

Koscielny attempts to connect with Payet's enticing delivery, but Arsenal teammate Giroud gets there first and heads harmlessly over the crossbar.

William Collum of Scotland is tonight's referee. As you would expect, the hosts are monopolising possession during the early stages.

We are off and running. Will this be a celebratory evening for France, or can Albania follow Iceland's example and pick up their first major tournament point against one of the European heavyweights?

Let's find out.

The stadium observes a minute's applause for police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and officer Jessica Schneider, who were both stabbed to death in Magnanville, Paris on Monday night.


After a typically rousing and deafening version of the excellent La Marseillaise, we are just about ready to get underway. A win for France here would cement their place in the round of 16.

The players have emerged from the tunnel and it is time for the national anthems.

De Biasi, meanwhile, hopes his side's familiarity with France can work to their advantage:

We know France well. They're playing at home and will be driven on. We'll try to limit as much as possible some of their play and try to break when we get the chance. Kingsley Coman has really skyrocketed in terms of his ability. N'Golo Kante has been a surprise – he was incredible in the Premier League. France are one of the best sides in the world.

We played quite well against Switzerland and blew an opportunity to score. For the best part of an hour we held firm against a good side with a better FIFA ranking than us. We have worked on trying to find the right balance and want put into action everything we have done in training.

10 minutes remaining until kick-off. Here is what Deschamps has had to say ahead of the match:

There'll be a great atmosphere, the crowd will be really fired up. This is a proper stadium. The new Vélodrome is synonymous with a proper football atmosphere. It's always great to come back – I was last here in 2014. Back then it was still being renovated, but it's nice to be here and see people who I spent time with as a coach and player.

There was a lot of excitement in 1998, but it grew as the competition wore on. I can't say the surroundings were the same as they are today. There's huge support from the French fans, which is lovely. I don't speak about '98 with the players. I was part of the story, but this is their history to write.

Albania are very organised because they have an Italian coach, who has done a great job. They defend well but don't settle on that – they're good at breaking forward quickly. They work hard and it's impressive how much ground they cover. We saw that against Switzerland, where they deserved to equalise at the end.

Thankfully, there has been no repeat of the trouble that dogged Marseille last weekend today...

France vs Albania
France vs Albania
France vs Albania
France vs Albania
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
France vs Albania

We are sad to report that there have been one or two more unsavoury scenes involving England supporters tonight ahead of tomorrow's crunch Group B tie against Wales at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Teargas has reportedly been used again by police to disperse fans in nearby Lille, where Russia earlier lost 2-1 to Slovakia.


Albania boss De Biasi drafts in 22-year-old Frosinone centre-back Arlind Ajeti to cover for the suspended Cana. Taulant Xhaka, brother of Arsenal's new Swiss international Granit, makes way along with Odise Roshi. Andi Lila and Ledian Memushaj start.

Albania XI to face France: Berisha, Hysaj, Ajeti, Mavraj, Agolli, Kukeli, Lila, Abrashi, Memushaj, Lenjani, Sadiku

The French boast a record of four victories in six previous meetings against tonight's opponents, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw in November 2014 before surprisingly losing by a goal to nil in a friendly last June. PAOK midfielder Ergys Kaçe, who is on the bench tonight, struck a brilliant free-kick winner in the Albanian capital of Tirana.

Ergys Kaçe

Previous meetings brought scorelines of 1-0, 5-0, 2-1 and 3-0 in qualification campaigns for Euro 92 and Euro 2012.

Albania, who beat Portugal in qualifying, are currently appearing at their first ever major tournament and gave a good account of themselves against Switzerland after some poor goalkeeping from Lazio's otherwise impressive Etrit Berisha initially allowed Fabian Schar to notch an early header.

Armando Sadiku and substitute Shkelzen Gashi both wasted glorious opportunities to equalise after experienced skipper Lorik Cana was shown the tournament's first red card. The former Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Sunderland defender will not have the chance to play in front of his old fans tonight after receiving two yellow cards for a late foul on Blerim Dzemaili and a blatant handball to thwart Haris Seferovic.

Lorik Cana
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Full-time in Paris, where neither Romania nor Switzerland have been able to find a winning goal at the Parc des Princes. Stancu scored his second penalty in as many games to become the tournament's leading scorer after Alex Chipciu had his shirt pulled by Swiss captain Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Anghel Iordanescu's side also hit the woodwork before Admir Mehmedi's powerful volley sealed a share of the spoils. Switzerland now top Group A with four points, while Romania are third with one.

France XI to face Albania: Lloris, Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra, Kante, Matuidi, Coman, Payet, Martial, Giroud

Before we go any further, we have some interesting team news to bring you from the French camp. Reports in the build-up to this fixture had suggested that manager Didier Deschamps was ready to drop star Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann in favour of Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman.

Those changes have indeed been made, with Martial lining up on the left, Coman on the right and Payet switching inside to occupy the central space behind Giroud. The midfield pairing of Blaise Matuidi and N'Golo Kante remains intact, while Adil Rami continues alongside Laurent Koscielny in the centre of defence.

The system changes from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1.

Les Bleus have won each of the two major international tournaments held on home soil (Euro 84 and the 1998 World Cup) to date, but looked to be heading for a rather tame start on opening night after a successful penalty from Bogdan Stancu following Patrice Evra's foul on Nicolae Stanciu cancelled out Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud's second-half header.

After supplying the assist for that goal, however, West Ham sensation Dimitri Payet, who represented Marseille for two years before moving to English football, continued his sublime form and secured victory with a long-range stunner that left Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu with no chance.

Such a victory was particularly poignant as it came at the Stade de France, seven months after the shocking Paris terror attacks that tragically left 130 people dead.

Dimitri Payet

Good evening and a very warm welcome to IBTimes UK's latest live coverage of Uefa Euro 2016. Romania and Switzerland are still locked at one goal apiece during the closing stages of their encounter in Paris, but here our attentions turn to Group A rivals France as the hosts prepare for their second outing of the tournament against debutants Albania at Marseille's Stade Velodrome.

France vs Albania

A preview of tonight's clash is on its way, in addition to breaking team news, confirmed lineups and live updates throughout the 90 minutes. Don't go anywhere!