Euro 2016 Day 6: France through; Loew promises not to touch himself; England fans tear-gassed again

Griezmann and Payet earn hosts late win over Albania to reach knockout stage as fan tensions rise in Lille - and Russia warns France over ‘discrimination’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 June, 2016, 5:06am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 June, 2016, 5:28am

Good morning - here’s the key headlines from the overnight action in France:

Le late late show

France reached the knockout stage with a win as expected over minnows Albania, but they left it extremely late to seal the 2-0 victory.

Albania were the better team for much of the first half, and continued to frustrate the hosts in the second at Stade Velodrome.

But sub Antoine Griezmann headed the French in front in the 90th minute and Dimitri Payet, whose late free-kick against Romania earned a 2-1 win in the opener, added a beautifully taken second in extra time.

In the group’s other game, Switzerland were held to a draw by Romania, who took the lead from the penalty spot through Bogdan Stancu before conceding an equaliser to Admir Mehmedi.

France now have six points in Group A, followed by Switzerland with four and Romania with one. Albania have zero.

Wandering hands

Germany play Poland on Thursday, which should give football fans around the world another opportunity to see Mannschaft coach Joachim Loew stick his hand down the front and back of his pants then give it a good sniff.

But Loew’s promising to keep his roving fingers away from himself after footage of his bizarre antics in Germany’s opener went viral.

“You’re full of adrenalin and full of concentration and the things that happen then can’t be consciously taken as real,” Loew said.

“From now on I’ll try to conduct myself differently.”

Give us a headline

Rather disappointingly, England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney refused to take the bait when journalists tried to get them to ‘blast back’ at Wales’ Gareth Bale.

Bale had given England a mild slagging this week ahead of the two countries ‘Battle of Britain’ on Thursday night.

But Woy and Wazza weren’t interested in getting involved in the archetypal tabloid ‘war of words’, much to those tabloids’ disgruntlement.

“It’s a game between brothers,” said Hodgson, while Rooney went with a classic, “We’re just focused on preparing for the game.”

It was the same story later on when Wales boss Chris Coleman was grilled: “All the talk beforehand, blah blah blah, for me. I’m not into mind games. Let’s just get down to business. This is all just small talk. It doesn’t mean anything to me at all.”

Ham-tastic

Napoli’s Marek Hamsik scored another contender for goal of the tournament as Slovakia beat Russia 2-1 to further add to their woes.

Vladimir Weiss’s opener wasn’t too shabby either - and though Russia pulled one back late on they couldn’t snatch a point as they did against England.

It was Slovakia’s first win at the tournament as an independent nation.

The off-field violence from fans and threats of disqualification from Uefa “didn’t have any impact at all,” said coach Leonid Slutsky.

He pulled an Arsene Wenger when asked if he was worried by the fact Russia fans lit off a flare - again.

Russia were fined for the use of fireworks and racist behaviour in their draw with England as well as being told any more crowd disturbances would lead to their expulsion.

“I was totally concentrated on the game and so I was only looking at the pitch. I didn’t see that,” said Slutsky.

Soccer war?

Russia’s government certainly doesn’t seem concerned by the image the country’s football hooligans are projecting to the world - quite the opposite.

The French ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for a dressing-down, where he was warned that relations between the two countries could take a beating even more severe than those dished out by black-clad Spartak and CSKA fans in Marseille at the weekend.

He railed against ‘totally unacceptable’ treatment of Russia’s supporters in France, after a bus full of them was detained by police.

“Further stoking of anti-Russian sentiments surrounding the topic of the participation of our squad in the Euro football championships could significantly aggravate the atmosphere in Russian-French relations,” the Russian foreign ministry said.