Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2016 Contents A42
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, June 20, 2016
LILLE---There were several ripped
shirts and even a burst ball during
France s 0-0 draw with Switzerland
yesterday at the European Champi-
The scoreless result was good enough
for both teams, with the host French
taking first place in Group A and the
Swiss moving on to the round of 16 in
France twice hit the crossbar as it
again squandered numerous chances,
but the torn Switzerland shirts and the
ball being ripped apart during a chal-
lenge will likely end up being the most
memorable moments of the match at
Stade Pierre Mauroy.
"It means there was a lot of fight on
the pitch," Switzerland goalkeeper Som-
mer said. "For us and for the country
it s important to be in the last 16."
Switzerland midfielder Admir
Mehmedi s shirt was torn in the first
half, forcing him to the sidelines for a
backup. Teammate Granit Xhaka then
had his ripped once in each half, and
teen striker Breel Embolo also slightly
tore the back of his in the first half.
Then there was an issue with the
official Adidas "Beau Jeu" ball.
As France pushed for a goal in the
second half, forward Antoine Griez-
mann was dribbling when Switzerland
midfielder Valon Behrami stepped in
to tackle. The two converged on the
ball and it burst, with Behrami picking
up the deflated leather and showing it
to Slovenian referee Damir Skomina.
Just like in its previous games against
Romania and Albania, France failed to
turn pressure into goals.
"Everyone hopes we play better, the
players do and so do I," France coach
Didier Deschamps said. "I m not blind,
I know we can do better---but a new
competition starts for us on Sunday."
Even with a new ball to strike,
France s shots lacked conviction, and
Griezmann held his head in his hands
when he placed his strike too close to
Sommer after swapping passes with
striker Andre-Pierre Gignac and burst-
ing into the area.
There was a hint of bad luck, too.
Paul Pogba hit the crossbar in the
first half with a swerving shot from 25
metres and substitute Dimitri Payet did
the same in the 75th minute with a
superb volley following a surging run
down the right and cross to the back
post from midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
The Swiss threatened mainly on the
break, using the 19-year-old Embolo s
pace, but France looked more likely to
score as Payet shot just wide from out-
side the penalty area late on.
In the other Group A match, Albania
beat Romania 1-0 and finished in third
place with three points.
Thanks to Pogba, it seemed like
EVIAN-LES-BAINS---To silence the
critics, Germany needs to get its attack
The team s misfiring forwards have
yet to score at the European Champi-
onship in games against Ukraine and
Poland, and coach Joachim Loew has
brushed off suggestions of a lack of
leadership in his side.
The World Cup champions, who face
Northern Ireland tomorrow in Group
C, needed defender Shkodran Mustafi
to break the deadlock against Ukraine
before midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger
sealed the 2-0 win on a break in injury
Loew then said his players created
"hardly any chances" in the following
0-0 draw against Poland.
Defensive frailties were exposed in
the first game, but now the focus is on
attack with Mario Goetze, Thomas
Mueller, Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler
all scoreless so far. Also, Mario Gomez
has yet to start a match, while Lukas
Podolski has yet to even make an
"That s how it is in football. Some-
times you re the dog, sometimes you re
the tree," Goetze said Sunday at the
team s tournament base. "Criticism
goes with football. You have to deal
with it. We re professional enough."
The lack of goals is puzzling given
the wealth of talent at Loew s disposal.
Mueller, strangely, has yet to score in
seven games over two European Cham-
pionships despite 32 goals in 73 games
for Germany, including 12 goals in Euro-
"Of course we want to be better in
attack, to create more goal-scoring
chances. We re working on it as a team,
not only in training but we ve spoken
about it, too," Mueller said. "We ll try
a few things on Tuesday. We re looking
forward to it."
Mueller scored 32 goals across all
competitions for Bayern Munich last
said already before the tournament, it s
not my main thing," Mueller said. "I
hope we deliver a good game and that
we ll win. I can t say what happens
after that, there are so many possibil-
ities. Even if we win the group, it s not
clear who we ll face."
Despite the problems, Germany is
virtually assured of progression from
Group C and Loew is relaxed looking
ahead to the rest of the tournament.
"We will win against Northern Ire-
land. We will win the group and then,
I believe, we ll be playing in Lille again
for the round of 16," Loew said. "I don t
know about any other ways."
Also, Germany defender Jerome
Boateng trained normally with the rest
of the squad at the Camille Fournier
Stadium on Sunday after recovering
from a bruised hip. Northern Ireland,
playing in its first European Champi-
onship, is in a good position to progress
from the group after Gareth McAuley
led the side to a 2-0 win over Ukraine.
The Northern Irish are guaranteed of
at least third place and would secure
qualification with a victory over Ger-
many at the Parc des Princes.
Northern Ireland can take heart from
the only previous meeting between the
countries at a major tournament, when
they drew 2-2 in a group game at the
1958 World Cup. Both progressed to
Ripped shirts, punctured ball but no goals
...as France, Swiss draw
Germany aiming to click into gear
France s midfield dominance might make
the difference in the first half, but good
situations were wasted.
Shortly after France centre half Laurent
Koscielny failed to direct his header on
target following a flurry of corners, the
defender then had to block Embolo s
slanting shot in the 30th minute following
a rare Swiss foray.
France s main threat in the second half
was Sissoko, who made another powerful
run and then fed the ball to Gignac, whose
53rd-minute shot was easily saved by
Sommer. He had also scuffed a first-half
chance after Griezmann had set him up
near the penalty spot.
French fans chanted for Payet.
But having scored an 89th-minute win-
ner against Romania in a 2-1 win and an
injury-time strike in the 2-0 win against
Albania, he could not repeat it this time.
France's Adil Rami, right, and
Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner vie for
the ball during the Euro 2016 Group A
soccer match between Switzerland and
France at the Pierre Mauroy stadium in
Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, France,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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