France vs. Albania (Tactical report)

Deschamps will be happy with the way Pogba and Griezmann responded to being dropped on the bench.

Didier Deschamps decided to drop Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, replacing them with Antony Martial and Kinsley Coman, showing the talent at his disposal which makes the French such a dangerous team. This meant that Payet started at No. 10 position with Martial and Coman adding pace on the wings. But France struggled in the first-half and failed to make any openings. It had no shots on target. Albania, too, deserved credit for its strong defence and the way it ensured that Martial and Coman couldn’t use their pace, often using two players to mark them.

Pogba came on for Martial at half-time, meaning that Payet moved to the left with Pogba operating from the centre. France certainly looked more threatening and came close with Giroud, whose form will be a big worry for Deschamps. Griezmann too came on for Coman, in the 69th minute with France looking more threatening on the attack. Albania simply looked to play out for a draw. France flooded the box with numbers, and finally managed to breakthrough in the 89th minute, when Adil Rami crossed the ball and Griezmann, who was unmarked, headed in an easy goal. Then, Payet joined the party with a move started by Pogba who gave a 70-yard ball from right to left, to Gignac who laid the ball up for Payet to curl in with his right foot (see picture). The result was probably a bit too harsh on Albania, which looked solid for most of the game and deserved at least a point for its showing.

Deschamps will be happy with the way Pogba and Griezmann responded to being dropped on the bench and he will also now realise that Payet is not as dangerous as a No. 10 as he is on the wings. He will also be hoping that Giroud gets his scoring touch back before the knockouts!

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