Sport360.com’s online managing editor Mark Lomas speaks with Portuguese football writer Andy Brassell after Iceland salvaged a draw against Cristiano Ronaldo & co.
With Nani having to play upfront for Portugal, Andy discusses the lack of striking options at Fernando Santos’ disposal.
The pair are speaking from the media centre at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium shortly after the match finished. More videos; www.sport360.com/watch
So from Dmitri Payet’s stunning strike in the first match to Iceland’s equaliser against Portugal, all angles are covered.
It is a hugely unique offering, created by the animation experts at prolific YouTube channel Copa90.
Which has been your favourite goal of the tournament so far?
Minnows Albania could feel the full force of Euro 2016 hosts France as confidence grows ahead of their Group A encounter in Marseille on Wednesday, warned striker Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal striker Giroud put any lingering doubts over his goalscoring form behind him after 57 minutes at the Stade de France on Friday to head the opening goal of the tournament.
Having begun their campaign nervously, the weight of expectation on Les Bleus was shed in the final minutes when Dimitri Payet’s stunning strike secured a precious 2-1 win over Romania.
Described as a “relief” by defender Adil Rami, Giroud believes fans can now look forward to seeing Didier Deschamps’ men play to their full potential.
“As the tournament progresses, I’m sure we’re going to get better and better,” said Giroud, who has welcomed the pressure of leading the hosts’ attack in the absence of Karim Benzema. “I’m better when I’m under pressure. I don’t want to spend time answering my detractors, but I’m feeling good in this set-up and I’ve gained a lot of confidence in the France team.”
Try that again - All 24 nations have now played at #EURO2016. Only 4 strikers have scored: Giroud, Milik, Pelle & Szalai.— Alex Richards (@AA_Richards) June 14, 2016
Indeed, despite his critics, Giroud has now scored eight times in his last eight games for France.
For Albania, the tournament started in ominous fashion when captain Lorik Cana was shown the first red card of the competition in a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland on Saturday.
While a France win will see the hosts secure their place in the last 16 of the competition, and allow Deschamps to rotate players ahead of their final group game against Switzerland on June 19 in Lille, it would spell disaster for the Balkan minnows.
Albania’s Italian coach Gianni De Biasi is so devoted to the cause he is now the proud owner of two passports. But his patriotism wasn’t enough for their maiden European Championship fixture which also made history when brothers Granit and Taulent Xhaka started for Switzerland and Albania respectively.
“We needed a good start and that didn’t happen,” he said after their opening 1-0 defeat.
De Biasi’s side play a well-drilled Italian-style counter-attacking game, often ‘parking the bus’ to stifle the opposition, a tactic which rarely leads to more than a single goal conceded.
After France’s opening win, Sevilla defender Rami said: “I hope this win will allow us to play our real game during our next matches.”
But a defensively tight Albania could test France’s ability to carve open opposition defences tonight, when Deschamps is expected to ring a few changes.
After a disappointing performance from Paul Pogba, the Juventus star could be replaced by Moussa Sissoko, as he did at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when he came on as a substitute in France’s second match, a 5-2 victory over Switzerland.
Although Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann also failed to shine, Pogba – hailed as one of the big stars of the competition – was notably criticised for unnecessary showboating.
By contrast, Payet and the impressive N’Golo Kante will be among the first names on Deschamps’s team sheet. There were calls for Payet to be elected president, at least on the front pages of the local press in his native Reunion in the Indian Ocean, after his emotional winner last week.
Giroud added: “He’s given a huge boost to the team. He’s had a great season and is an important player for us.”