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Euros roundup: France, Switzerland reach knockout stage

Associated Press

Lille, France — There were several ripped shirts and even a burst ball during France’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland on Sunday at the European Championship.

The scoreless result was good enough for both teams, with the host French taking first place in Group A and the Swiss moving on to the round of 16 in second place.

France twice hit the crossbar as it again squandered numerous chances, but the torn Switzerland shirts and the ball being ripped apart during a challenge will likely end up being the most memorable moments of the match at Stade Pierre Mauroy.

“It means there was a lot of fight on the pitch,” Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer said. “For us and for the country it’s important to be in the last 16.”

Switzerland midfielder Admir Mehmedi’s shirt was torn in the first half, forcing him to the sidelines for a backup. Teammate Granit Xhaka then had his ripped once in each half, and teen striker Breel Embolo also slightly tore the back of his in the first half.

Then there was an issue with the official Adidas “Beau Jeu” ball.

As France pushed for a goal in the second half, forward Antoine Griezmann was dribbling when Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami stepped in to tackle. The two converged on the ball and it burst, with Behrami picking up the deflated leather and showing it to Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.

Just like in its previous games against Romania and Albania, France failed to turn pressure into goals.

“Everyone hopes we play better, the players do and so do I,” France coach Didier Deschamps said.

“I’m not blind, I know we can do better — but a new competition starts for us on Sunday.”

Even with a new ball to strike, France’s shots lacked conviction, and Griezmann held his head in his hands when he placed his strike too close to Sommer after swapping passes with striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and bursting into the area.

French fans chanted for Payet.

Albania 1,Romania 0: At Lyon, Albania kept its hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive.

Armando Sadiku scored the lone goal — and first goal Albania has scored in an international tournament — in the 43rd minute. Ledian Memushaj found Sadiku with a well-placed cross that the striker headed over goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.

The result catapulted Albania into third place in the group rankings and eliminated Romania.

Albania will now have to wait until the group stage wraps up on Wednesday if it will be one of the four third-place teams to make it through to the next round.

“It was historical for us to reach the European Championship’s final stages, and finally we have won the three points,” Albania’s Arlind Ajeti said via a translator. “We have made history.”

Armando Sadiku scored the sole goal in the match in the 43rd minute. It was the first goal Albania has scored in an international tournament. Ledian Memushaj picked out Sadiku drifting at the far post with a well-placed cross that the striker coolly nodded back over goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu, who had left his line.