France Euro 2016 talking points: Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet key, Olivier Giroud must be more clinical
By James Walker-Roberts and Peter Smith
Last Updated: 16/06/16 11:06am
France booked their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win over Albania in Marseille on Wednesday.
Substitute Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet got the goals late in the game as the hosts secured their passage from Group A.
We take a look at five talking points from the fixture, including Payet's importance, Olivier Giroud's wastefulness and defensive worries...
France will keep battling until the end
France kept their supporters waiting until the 89th minute for their winner in their opening Euro 2016 fixture against Romania. They left it even later against Albania. The game had moved into injury-time when Griezmann headed home Adil Rami's cross and Payet secured the victory in the 96th minute.
Three of France's four Euro 2016 goals have come after the 89th minute
Before the late, late flurry of chances, France had been frustrated for long periods by their opponents. In fact, there was not one shot on target from either side until Griezmann's header found the net. Persistence, once again, paid off for the hosts.
Dimitri Payet is key to their title hopes
He was the hero on Friday with his stunning, last-gasp, match-winning strike against Romania, and although Payet's goal against Albania was not as decisive, it further served to highlight his importance to France.
Payet has already recorded two goals and one assist in his two outings at Euro 2016 - no French player has been involved in so many goals at an entire European Championship since Zinedine Zidane played a part in three at Euro 2004.
Dimitri Payet played 83 times for Marseille, the host city for France's win over Albania
While Didier Deschamps tinkered with his line-up for this fixture, Payet clearly remains central to his plans - and France's hopes of glory.
Paul Pogba has to start
Deschamps must have had his reasons for benching two of his star players - Paul Pogba and Griezmann - but without the duo, France were lacklustre in the first half and created few chances of note.
After the break, with Pogba on for Anthony Martial, they managed to take some control of the contest, creating several chances before Griezmann got the late breakthrough.
This was the first Euro finals game without a first-half shot on target since France v Romania at Euro 2008 (June 9).
Pogba then set up the second goal with a brilliant raking pass downfield, picking out Andre-Pierre Gignac's run despite slipping at the moment of contact.
If the Juventus playmaker is not restored to the starting line-up against Switzerland, it would be a huge shock.
Olivier Giroud must be more clinical
If France are going to go far at Euro 2016 then surely Olivier Giroud cannot be so wasteful as he has been in the first two games.
Although he scored against Romania, he was guilty of missing a few good chances, and it was the same story against Albania, although without the goal.
France scored with the only two shots on target of the game
Three times he failed to hit the target with headers before powering one against the post. While the header against the woodwork was a good attempt, he should have done far better with the other opportunities he spurned.
Defensive concerns remain
They might have kept a clean sheet, but France were again far from convincing at the back.
The hosts especially looked vulnerable from balls into the box, with Ermir Lenjani almost scoring after latching on to a low corner and Bacary Sagna turning a cross on to his own post.
A more clinical team than Romania or Albania might well punish the French.