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France Score in Final Minute of Regulation to Beat Albania

France barely survived Albania in regulation, and then piled on in extra time.

by Sean Newell
Jun 15 2016, 9:51pm

Albania battled France for 89 minutes and nine seconds and it seemed like they might have earned themselves a draw and a point against the tournament hosts and favorites. But in the final minute of regulation, France put sustained pressure in front of the Albania goal and eventually one of the crosses found a head, and then the netting.

While the deliriously handsome Olivier Giroud missed the mark on a couple of headers, Antoine Griezmann, who came on in the 68th minute, did not. Adil Rami sent in a tight curling cross right to the front of the goal box and since Albania lost track of Griezmann, he was given a free look at the header, and the goal, and bounced it inside the post.

With five minutes of added time, though, Albania still had a chance to equalize. That was until Dimitri Payet found himself in open space with the ball. André-Pierre Gignac tracked a ball down the near side, but slipped as he was cutting to the middle of the field. Happily, the ball went right to Payet's feet and he weaved between three Albania defenders before curling in France's second goal, ending Albania's hopes. With the win, France became the first team to advance to the round of 16.

[ESPN]