Euro 2016 round up: Switzerland 0 France 0 - and what the result means

France's Paul Pogba (left) vies for the ball against Switzerland's Fabian Schaer during the Euro 2016 group A football match.
France's Paul Pogba (left) vies for the ball against Switzerland's Fabian Schaer during the Euro 2016 group A football match.PHOTO: AFP

France drew the battle but won the war. Les Bleus cemented their position atop Group A despite dropping points for the first time at Euro 2016. But they know that bigger clashes await.

That Sunday's goal-less result follows two unconvincing wins against Romania and Albania will ensure that overconfidence will not be an issue heading into the round of 16. Alarm bells, however, will not exactly be ringing from Lille to Lyon.

The hosts came up against an in-form Yann Sommer and hit the woodwork three times at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

They played at a high tempo throughout the opening half, and were unlucky not to be up by the break. Paul Pogba twice struck the frame with rasping drives.

French fans can also point to the fact that Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps opted to rest playmaker Dimitri Payet, arguably the player of the tournament so far. Striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder N'Golo Kante, who were a booking away from a suspension, also started on the bench.

 
 

It was substitute Payet who came closest to opening the scoring in the second half, his side-footed volley crashing onto the underside of the bar.

With a draw suiting both sides, the pace of the match dropped in the second period.

Switzerland held out for the point that would have guaranteed them second place in the group, regardless of the result in the game between Romania and Albania.

Vladimir Petkovic's men ended France's six-game winning streak. But the favourites will be hoping that this is just the start of something special.

Match highlights

- In the 8th minute, Xherdan Shaqiri's inswinging corner from the right was cleared off the line by Pogba.

- Pogba's 12th-minute shot from outside the box was headed for the top corner. Sommer pushed the ball onto the bar and it bounced away for a corner. Nothing came of the set-piece situation. But a minute later, Pogba forced Sommer into another save. The Juventus star thundered a shot from an acute angle on the left flank.

- In the 17th minute, Pobga picked the ball up some 40 yards from goal, took a couple of strides and hit a powerful shot with his left foot. His effort struck the bar.

- In the 31st minute, Switzerland left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, under no pressure, attempted to control the ball but it hit his hand. He took a sheepish glance at the linesman as a number of France players appealed for a penalty. Nothing was given.

- With four Swiss players around him in the 57th minute, Pogba kept the ball then passed it to Antoine Griezmann. The forward played a one-two with Andre-Pierre Gignac. After picking the ball up outside the box, he took a few dribbles and shot towards the roof of the net. His effort had plenty of pace but was too central and Sommer was able to push it over.

- France struck the woodwork again in the 76th minute. Moussa Sissoko drove forward on the right wing, beating two men en route to covering over 40 yards. He then hung up a far-post cross for Payet, who volleyed the ball onto the frame of the goal.

- Switzerland demanded a penalty in stoppage time. Substitute Michael Lang's crossed towards Blerim Dzemaili, and the midfielder had his jersey tugged by France right-back Bacary Sagna.

The talking point

Will Sissoko retain his place after that performance? The Newcastle midfielder got a rare start in place of Blaise Matuidi and injected pace and energy into the side. His surging runs forward caused the Swiss defence plenty of problems. Matuidi came into Euro 2016 as an almost certain starter for Les Bleus, but the Paris Saint-Germain has been one of their most under-performing players.

Man of the Match

Pogba. The midfielder gave an almost perfect reaction to being dropped from the starting line-up against Albania on Wednesday. He had four efforts in 17 minutes - as many as he managed in the first two games. He was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet in the first-half, when he was vital on both ends of the pitch. While the 23-year-old had a quieter second half, he can be proud of his overall performance. He created three chances for his team-mates, won three corners and whipped in two crosses.

What the result means

France have topped Group A and will play a third-placed team from Group C, D, or E for a place in the quarter-finals.

Switzerland have made the knockout stages at Euro for the first time in their history. They qualified as runners-up. Petkovic's side will face the runners-up of Group C in the last 16. Whoever their opponents are, they will know that the Swiss will not be easy to breakdown. In Sommer, Switzerland have a world-class goalkeeper. The Borussia Monchengladbach man has conceded just once in the tournament.

Key statistic

Yohan Cabaye made nine tackles against Switzerland - no other player has made more in a game at Euro 2016. The Crystal Palace midfielder, who started in place of Kante, also made more passes than any other French player. Deschamps got performances from his reserves in Lille.

What they said

Pogba: "In the first half I thought we were really strong and created a lot of chances. In the second half we let them play a bit more and left them a bit too much space. Overall, though, we had a good game and are happy with our performance."

Sommer: "It's great for Switzerland to be in the last 16 of a tournament like this. We deserved to get through this group. We played well today, we had a bit of luck too. I don't have a preference (for our next opponents). We haven;t thought too much about what would happen after this game."