Naijat News – It ;s certainly clear that France guaranteed to move to euro quarter finals after securing 6 point from two previous games in Euro 2016. Here is the lineup for today’s game with Switzerland.
France: H Lloris, P Evra, A Rami, L Kolscielny, B Sagna, P Pogba, B Matuidi, N Kante, A Griezmann, O Giroud, D Payet
Switzerland: Y Sommer, S Lichtsteiner, F Schar, J Djourou, R Rodriguez, V Behrami, G Xhaka, X Shaqiri, B Dzemaili, A Mehmedi, H Seferovic
Juventus star Paul Pogba finds himself at the eye of a storm as Euro 2016 hosts France prepare to face Switzerland in their final Group A game in Lille on Sunday.
Dropped for Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Albania in Marseille, Pogba came on at half-time and helped set up the second goal for Dimtri Payet deep into stoppage time with a trademark crossfield pass.
But his reaction — an explicit pump of the arm, apparently directed at the press box — caused a scandal and, despite the 23-year-old apologising, it has placed him squarely in the media crosshairs.
The France players who have faced the press since have done their best to dilute the controversy, Pogba’s midfield colleague N’Golo Kante saying: “I didn’t see this gesture that everyone’s talking about. I was celebrating the second goal.”
Centre-back Samuel Umtiti, meanwhile, protested: “I’m not someone who looks at the press.” Pogba can at least look forward to a return to the starting XI against Switzerland, along with Antoine Griezmann, who came off the bench to score the crucial opening goal against Albania. With Kante and Olivier Giroud both at risk of suspension, Yohan Cabaye and Andre-Pierre Gignac could come into the team as well, with Deschamps expected to revert to a 4-3-3 formation. Deschamps will be keen for France to avoid a repeat of the fate that befell them at Euro 2012, when, under Laurent Blanc, a 2-0 loss to Sweden in their last group game condemned ‘Les Bleus’ to a quarter-final encounter with eventual champions Spain.
With France two points clear of second-place Switzerland, a draw will guarantee them top spot in the group and with it a last 16 tie against the third-place team in Group C, D or E.
France won 5-2 when the teams last met in the Brazilian city of Salvador during the 2014 World Cup, a victory that sparked their tournament into life, and Deschamps will hope Sunday’s game proves a similar catalyst.
Having had to wait until the 89th minute to take the lead against Romania and the 90th minute to go in front against Albania, France are yet to produce a display worthy of their pre-tournament status as potential champions.
Seizing on the Pogba controversy, Switzerland’s official Twitter account wrote on Friday: “Hey France, Pogba’s not your problem. WE are your problem!”
Vladimir Petkovic’s side beat Albania 1-0 in their opening game before drawing 1-1 with Romania and require only a point to secure one of the two automatic qualifying positions.
But Admir Mehmedi, who scored Switzerland’s equaliser against Romania in Paris, said: “We want to win, that’s clear. We won’t be happy just to play for a draw.”
Influential Watford midfielder Valon Behrami could miss out, though, as he is nursing a knee problem. —AFP
Switzerland’s record in 37 games against France is W12 D9 L16, but they have yet to win a competitive encounter with Les Bleus (W0 D3 L2).
Nine of France’s last 10 goals at the European Championship have been scored after half-time. At Euro 2016, three of their four goals have come after the 89th minute
Did you know?
France have won all four of their games in and around Lille and have not conceded in the city for over 100 years: 4-3 v Belgium 1914, 2-0 v Tunisia 1978, 2-0 v Armenia 1996, 8-0 v Jamaica 2014.
France are one of only three nations to have won the Euros as hosts along with Spain (1964) and Italy (1968)
Patrice Evra vs Xherdan Shaqiri
The left-back conceded a penalty against Romania, which gifted Anghel Iordabescu’s men their equaliser, while he was run ragged against an Albania side many though Les Bleus would dispose of comfortably. Assuming he is not rested, Evra will have his work cut out against Shaqiri who will start on the right of midfield where he will look to cut inside and either take a s**t or thread a pass through the backline
Will miss next match if booked
France: Oliver Giroud, N Kante
Switzerland: F Schar, V Behrami, G Xhaka