Hosts France clinched top spot in Group A with a goalless draw against Switzerland that took their opponents through to the last 16 as well.
Meanwhile, Armando Sadiku made history for Albania on Sunday as his goal secured a 1-0 win against Romania at Euro 2016 to give the Balkan nation their first ever victory at a major tournament.
FRANCE RATTLE THE CROSSBAR TO FINISH TOP OF GROUP
In Lille, Didier Deschamps’s France, for whom Paul Pogba shone through in a poor game against the Swiss, can look forward to a theoretically easier draw in the next round as group winners.
Pogba, much criticised over a contentious gesture at the end of Wednesday’s 2-0 win against Albania, clearly felt he had a point to prove as he came out of the traps flying in a game played on an awful surface in Lille.
Granit Xhaka (2x)Admir MehmediBreel Embolo pic.twitter.com/7vE6NAhXI1— Sukan Star (@sukanstar) June 19, 2016
6 – There were 6 more torn shirts than shots on target in the France v Switzerland game. Fabricated.— OptaJoke (@OptaJoke) June 19, 2016
He saw an early shot saved by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer and then smashed an effort from 25 yards onto the bar and over.
The star of France’s opening two games, Dimitri Payet, began the evening on the bench but came on in the 63rd minute and left the crossbar shuddering with a side-footed volley from Moussa Sissoko’s deep cross.
“We had the chances and hit the bar twice. We were there to secure first place and we did it, so it is mission accomplished,” France coach Deschamps told TV station M6.
As group winners, France will face the third-placed team in either Group C, D or E in Lyon on June 26, while Switzerland will come up against either Germany, Poland or Northern Ireland a day earlier in Saint-Etienne.
It will be the first time the Swiss have featured in the knockout phase of a European Championship.
TINY ALBANIA MAKE HISTORY, WAIT IN HOPE
Sadiku headed a Ledian Memushaj cross over goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu two minutes before half-time in Lyon as Albania scored their first goal at the tournament to keep alive their chances of reaching the last 16.
La celebración del gol de Albania es puro fútbol. Su primer gol en la historia de la Euro, hasta yo me emociono. pic.twitter.com/3Yl5oDF24i— Pablo (@HoopsTLT) June 19, 2016
Albania’s celebration was brilliant. That’s what footy is all about. You can see how much it meant to them— SAM (@_Samz12) June 19, 2016
Who would have thought, the Eiffel Tower in Albania’s colours. 🇦🇱👏👐 pic.twitter.com/NDlreg4qRu— Albanian Polls (@Albaenians) June 19, 2016
Romania were eliminated while Gianni De Biasi’s Albania, with three points and a negative goal difference, must now wait until the completion of the final round of group matches before finding out if they qualify for the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.
Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Tirana, waving flags, sounding car horns and lighting flares in celebration of their team’s historic victory.
ENGLAND IN ACTION ON MONDAY
On Monday, England and Wales will aim to cement their places in the knockout phase of Euro 2016 as all four Group B sides remain in with a realistic chance of reaching the last 16.
England face Slovakia in Saint-Etienne knowing that a draw would send them through to the next round, with a victory guaranteeing top spot and a last 16 game in Paris.
Wales will book their place in the last 16 with a victory over Russia, but a draw could also be sufficient to see the tournament debutants advance.
With AFP inputs (Featured image: AFP)