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Sagna's France through to last 16

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Sagna

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Sagna

Bacary Sagna played the 90 minutes as France topped their Euro 2016 group thanks to a 0-0 draw with Switzerland.

France’s passage to the knockout stages had already been assured thanks to a 2-0 win over Albania last time out which gave them six points from six but Group A top spot was up for grabs.

Didier Deschamps made five changes, including the entire midfield as he sought to rest players and avoid any suspensions ahead of next weekend’s knockout game.

Switzerland went into the game that they could usurp the hosts with a victory to claim a preferential draw in the Last 16 and they made a promising start to this quest, almost taking the lead inside the first ten minutes.

Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri swung in a corner from the left and Paul Pogba almost took it over his own line but it was just smuggled away in the nick of time before the nearby Johan Djourou could pounce.

The hosts grew into the game and rattled the woodwork courtesy of a stunning hit from Pogba who also forced Sommer into a fine save before the half-time whistle sounded.

The second half didn’t start with the same blistering pace as the first as both sides cancelled each other out, perhaps with an eye on the fact that a draw would probably be enough to take both sides through.

France’s hero from their first two games Dimitri Payet came on with 20 minutes to go looking to score a third winning goal in as many games.

He very nearly did repeat the trick with 75 minutes on the clock as he arrived onto Moussa Sissoko’s cross and delivered an incredible sidefooted volley which beat Sommer but hit the underside of the crossbar and rebounded to safety.

That was as close as either team came meaning both sides qualified for the knockout stages automatically.

France will play in Lyon next Sunday against the third-placed side from Group C, D or E.

 

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