Late goals send France into last 16

HAPPY ENDING: France's Payet (in blue) scored yet again


    Jun 17, 2016

    Late goals send France into last 16


    LATE goals from Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet booked hosts France's place in the last 16 after overcoming stiff resistance from European Championship debutants Albania.

    Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann came off the bench in Marseille to head the opener in the 90th minute before West Ham United's Payet strengthened his reputation by smashing home a second deep into stoppage time.

    The latter also struck a late winner as France opened the tournament with a nervy 2-1 win over Romania.

    "This is becoming a bit of a habit, I'd prefer us to break the deadlock a bit earlier," said a relieved French coach Didier Deschamps.

    "Until the final whistle is blown, there is still a chance to win the game, especially against teams who you have to wear down."

    However, two leave-it-late wins left doubts about whether Deschamps' side can repeat the feats of French sides at the 1984 Euros and 1998 World Cup, by winning on home soil.

    Griezmann finally made the breakthrough - and calmed the home supporters - as the clock ticked into stoppage time, stooping to turn home Adil Rami's cross.

    And Payet capped another man-of-the-match performance by firing into the far corner to round off a harsh scoreline for Albania.

    France next face Switzerland in Lille on Sunday with the Swiss also on the verge of reaching the knockout stage after a 1-1 draw with Romania in Paris.