Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 6 - Group A: France v. Albania

I'm pedaling home in time to catch the France 2016 hosts in their second match in the tournament. It seems like ages ago that Les Bleus secured a slim 2-1 win over lowly Romania in the opener on Friday through a late cracker from Dimitri Payet. They were hardly convincing in that match, and yet, many still rate them one of the tournament favorites. Will they live up to that vaunted billing this afternoon against Albania? We'll soon see - join me for an afternoon snack, eh?

123 Comments:

Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Romania and Switzerland have completed a 1-1 draw in the mid-day affair. That means that Switzerland are top of the group now on four points after their opening 1-0 win over Albania. That puts a bit of pressure on France to get a win today.

2:24 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

The French and Albania sides are out on the pitch warming up now. The cameras are firmly focused on goalscorer Giroud and playmaker Payet who scored the winner against Romania with a scorching drive.

2:26 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Is Paul Pogba capable of taking a game by the scruff of his neck for his country? Is Antoine Griezmann suffering from fatigue? Despite heading in the opener from Payet’s cross, should Olivier Giroud really be starting up front instead of Anthony Martial? And if it hadn’t been Patrice Evra who blundered, which member of France’s back four would have given away the penalty? Because that defence is always going to give you a chance.

2:37 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

A lot of chatter about Paul Pogba's role. I just don't see why Deschamps sees that he needs three defensive middies, especially against the likes of Albania. Release the hounds, mate!

2:42 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

So, here's the team news out of Marseille:

France: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra; Kante, Matuidi; Coman, Payet, Martial; Giroud.

Albania: Berisha; Hysaj, Ajeti, Mavraj, Agolli; Kukeli, Xhaka, Abrashi; Roshi, Sadiku, Lenjani.

Referee: Willie Collum (Scotland).

2:43 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

So, as you can see, the big news is that Pogba has been left out in favor of Kung Fu Panda up front.

2:44 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Golden Boot update - I've just noticed that it was Bogdan Stancu who scored Romania's goal in the earlier one today. That's a brace of penalties for Stancu, who now leads the Golden Boot race? Did anyone pick him? Err....no.

2:49 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

For all that France are favourites, though, it’s almost a year to the day since they were beaten 1-0 by Albania in a friendly. It was Albania’s first win over France. And they did have their chances against Switzerland. But surely there won’t be a repeat tonight.

2:52 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

"La Marseillaise" thundering forward now - still an anthem that should raise the little hairs on the backs of the French players. If they can't get up for a match after that sing-song, they're not quite alive.

3:00 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Of course, the Albanian skipper - and my Red Card boy - Lorik Cana is suspended today.

3:01 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

A round of applause now to memorialize two French policemen who were killed in Marseille on Monday night.

3:02 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

And Albania get us away in this one.

3:03 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

That's a stirring anthem. And no coincidence one written after a people's revolution, eh?

We narrowly nick a point off the Brits in 1812 and we get? The dirge-like SSB.

3:05 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Stewart Robson thinks it's "unbelievable" that Deschamps has left out Paul Pogba, who he considers the best midfielder in Europe.

3:06 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Who's this Kung Fu Panda bloke you've mentioned?

3:06 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

True enough, mate. Welcome - hope you're having a good day. What do you make of Didier's decision to leave out Pogba?

3:06 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payet has an early chance to swing in a free kick - and it's nodded over by Giroud. He seems to need a few chances to get his sights on goal, so it's a good sign for Les Bleus that he's involved early.

3:07 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

I think it's unnecessarily cautious. Perhaps a knock?

3:08 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Evra loses out in midfield. He really seems a step or two behind the pace. Surely Deschamps has a better option at left back.

3:08 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I agree; I would have left out Matuidi, who's purely a water carrier. Kante is enough to cover that territory, especially against these mugs.

3:09 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

First chance for Kung Fu to stretch his legs. Runs into a blind alley though.

3:10 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania get into the French half for the first time and the Albania partisans predictably go a bit potty.

3:10 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Kung-Fu is Olivier?

3:11 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Nice cross over and Giroud has his head on it again. Didn't get enough height though.

3:12 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Nah - that's UWS and MUR's name Martial - as in Martial Arts.

3:12 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Aha! Thanks for the translation.

3:13 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Do Gooners have a nickname for Giroud?

3:13 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

As they proved against Switzerland, the Albanians are capable of creating the odd chance, so Les Bleus will have to be cautious, especially if the match continues to be goalless.

3:14 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Giroud has gone off to get new studs or boots. He's been wearing one pink and one yellow one - hopefully he'll get that sorted out.

3:15 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania haven’t been overawed so far. Lenjani has just had a foray up the left after a stray pass from Rami and though he didn’t get too far, that might give Albania a bit of confidence.

3:16 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

More possession for the Albanians. Lenjani tried his luck again but it's a high, wide and 'orrible slice.

3:17 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Some whistles from the home crowd now, getting a bit restless about the French approach.

3:17 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Kung Fu Panda strides on to an errant ball but then blasts into a defender.

3:18 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payet can swing another free kick in - Giroud is the main target.

3:19 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Mais bien sur. Olivier sont le HFB, n'est pas?

3:19 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I'm quite impressed by Kingsley Coman, a 20 year old right back for France who apparently is a Juve product on loan at Bayern. Like the cut of his jib.

3:20 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Corner conceded by a horrible slice - Payet to take. Nodded out - he hasn't really found his range yet.

3:21 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Stewart Robson is still bellyaching about the absence of Pogba.

3:21 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

The words Dog and Bone are never far away from a pretty succinct description of Robson.

3:22 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Martial has two Albanians on him every time he touches the ball.

3:23 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I don't know why these guys get to have careers in broadcasting.

3:24 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Kung Fu had a chance there with the thru ball from Payet but he controlled it rather than hitting it first time.

3:25 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

It must be a pretty serious old-boys-network. Craig Burley, Tony Kaye, Stewart Robson, maybe they're all secret Masons.

3:25 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Half-way through this half, things are going a bit like they did against the Romanians. The Albanians are frustrating the French fairly effectively.

3:26 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Good shout, there. I can understand why legends like Lineker and Shearer can parlay their fame into broadcasting careers but many of these guys I can't even remember from their playing days.

3:27 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France haven’t played with a great deal of fluency yet. There have been a few too many loose passes for Deschamps’ liking,

3:27 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

That's fair, but given that two Albanians pop up out of Martial's socks every time he looks at a ball, perhaps a half-time change that included somebody more forward leaning?

3:28 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I agree - Martial looks like he's getting really frustrated.

3:31 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

If England were to have to face France, it's clear how to nullify the threats:

1. Put two on Martial
2. Watch the aerial threat from Giroud
3. Don't foul anyone within thirty yards of goal so that Payet has a free kick chance

3:32 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Sadiku seems to be keen on trying a pop from any distance.

3:35 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Half an hour gone now and the French crowd is getting restless.

3:35 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Yes to all 1-2-3, and either beat Kosz for height with a cross, or Rami with a ball on the ground because his feet are made of s***

3:37 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payet swings a long free kick into the area - it's caught comfortably by Berisha.

3:38 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I don't know why the big boys don't come up for free kicks and corners. It seems as if Giroud is the only target.

3:39 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Another free kick for Payet two knock in - it's really too low and Giroud has to stoop for it - puts it over harmlessly.

3:40 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - that was close for Lenjani - another corner.

3:41 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France break free finally - but Martial is cut out again.

3:42 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

We know what kind of free that Payet can take effectively. And it's not to pick out a forward. If no-one else, even Sagna can be counted on to put it on Giroud's, Rami's, or Kosc's head with a dead ball.

3:43 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Another decent cross over by the Albanians.

3:43 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Both of the Albanians that might have tucked in Lenjani's deflection were off-side.

3:44 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I agree - running everything through Payet as a traditional #10 may not work for Les Bleus.

3:44 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Free kick Albania now - Evra's injured himself in the process of fouling the bloke. He is a liability.

3:45 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Memashaj over this free kick - just over the top; had Lloris a bit worried.

3:47 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Lip readers will have picked out Giroud saying "Fuck Off!" to the referee.

3:48 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Half-time: France troop off feeling pretty arsed off with themselves. It hasn't gone their way and toward the end of the half the Albanians even started to believe that they might score.

0-0

3:51 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

a very useful phrase around Mike Reid and co.

3:51 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Yeah, the French are demonstrably off key. They are lucky that the Albanians are here to frustrate and maybe nick something with a bit of luck.

I expect a different attitude and direction in the second half from the French.

3:53 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Paul Pogba is going through a very vigorous half-time workout, so it appears that Deschamps is about to do an about-face with him.

3:58 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France get the second half underway. Paul Pogba has replaced the disappointing Anthony Martial, which means that Payet has moved to the left.

4:06 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France have started this half with ominous intent, winning a free-kick on the left. Payet curls it in again, into the corridor of uncertainty. It’s one of those that needs only a touch, with Berisha rooted to his line, but it evades everyone and bounces wide of the far post.

4:07 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

As this half progresses with the same scoreline, the frustration is bound to creep in for the French.

4:10 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - off the post from Memoshaj!!!!!

Every French fan held their breath there.

4:11 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payet works an angle for a shot - it's deflected out for a corner.

4:11 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payer's corner is nodded out - the Albanian center backs really have done well with the set pieces.

4:12 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - that was France's best chance so far. Payet floated a lovely ball over with the outside of his right boot and Pogba sliding in at the backpost skied it over.

4:13 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Kukeli becomes the first player in Euro 2016 to be suspended for the third match, picking up a yellow for a cynical block on Coman as he streaked clear.

4:14 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Coman has suddenly started to find his way into the center forward position - he latches on to a loose ball but shanks his shot wide.

4:15 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Griezmann warming up now - he'll likely be introduced if this keeps up.

4:15 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France have gone to three at the back now with Coman roaming pretty much wherever he likes.

4:17 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payet jinks inside but sends his curler some 25 yards over.

4:17 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Nearly half an hour gone now. Surely Deschamps will make another change soon.

Meanwhile Albanian Di Blasio must be delighted with how things are going. A point here keeps his side in the hunt in their final game against Romania.

4:19 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

It kicked off a bit here in the office. Now I'm back. Same score? That's bleak from the French.

4:20 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Sagna earns a corner. Payet to take....

Useless cross nodded out easily.

4:21 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Yeah - Pogba came on at the half for Martial. But it really hasn't changed much. Albania hit the post a while back - the closest we've come to a goal.

4:22 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Good work by Coman on the left but his cross was far too long.

4:23 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Pogba overlaps for Payet and wins yet another corner.

4:23 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania seem fairly happy to defend these corners. Nearly 65 minutes in now.

4:24 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France need a win to advance to the Round of 16. A draw won't do it. Griezmann looks to be coming on in a moment. Matiudi to come off - that would be my move too.

4:25 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - best chance yet for Giroud. Great ball over by Coman and he had a free header from about eight or nine yards. Should have done better.

4:26 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

No - it's Coman coming off. I don't understand that. He was one of the liveliest on the pitch and just laid one on Giroud's head. Typical conservatism from Deschamps.

Oh - off the post from Giroud now!

4:27 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Berisha was completely beaten by that header - much better from Giroud.

4:28 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Just over twenty minutes for Les Bleus to dig out this win now.

4:28 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - France had numbers over there but Pogba ran into trouble before dishing off to Payet.

4:29 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Di Blasio has seen enough - a change for the Albanians, just freshening the pack.

4:30 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Memoshaj was hacked there but the referee waved play on.

4:31 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania make their first change, Odise Roshi replacing Andi Lila.

4:32 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

A brief break while Kukela gets some treatment. Now he's coming off to be replaced by Granit Xhaka's brother

4:33 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Evra with another in a catalog of fouls. How has he stayed out of the book?

4:34 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Giroud gets the hook - Gignac comes on for him.

4:36 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Just over ten minutes to go now.

4:36 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - mad scramble in the box there. Gignac had a chance there but his poor touch took him too wide. The cross came over to Payet who found Sagna for a blast over the top.

4:38 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania happy to knock it about aimlessly now.

4:39 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Payet has a long range free kick now. Oh - Koz and Rami were both in there but neither could get on the end of it.

4:40 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Griezmann had a chance there from Sagna's cross but he just couldn't get in front of the center back.

4:42 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Kante hits one from distance that is deflected out for yet another corner.

4:43 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania make their final change - Ajeti the center back off and Veseli on.

4:43 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Five minutes and stoppage to come. This could be our first 0-0 match at France 2016.

4:45 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Oh - Kante found Pogba in the box but he slipped.

4:46 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

And now Kante has raced back to chop down an Albanian. Yellow card for the Leicester man.

4:47 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Desperate defending by the French now!

4:47 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

France break free and Payet finds Griezmann who heads wide.

4:48 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

GOAL! Substitute Griezmann finds the killer blow for France.

1-0!

4:49 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

It was Rami of all people who found himself out wide left and crossed beautifully for the Atletico man to nod home into the corner.

4:49 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

So that's Griezmann, another Golden Boot favorite among the LOB crowd to start his scoring campaign at France 2016.

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

That was France's first effort on target all night.

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Well into stoppage time now - three minutes to come.

4:51 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

It's a funny old game, eh? France have been fairly abject and disjointed tonight but they'll become the first side to qualify for the R16 in a moment or two unless Albania come up with something late.

4:52 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Koscielny is down after a clash of heads.

4:53 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Despite two losses, I'm not sure that Albania would be knocked out here, given the new structure with third placed teams allowed in. They'd need a win for sure against Romania.

4:54 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

GOAL! Payet seals the deal for Les Bleus!!!!!!

4:54 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Albania were stretched looking for the equalizer and Payet romped forward, jinked inside and then curled into the far corner. Very nice.

2-0!

4:55 PM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

And that's that. It was dire from France for about 89 minutes but that last five minutes or so may put a gloss on a poor performance. It's got to prompt some questions for Deschamps even though he won't need anything from the final match against Switzerland.

I'm off to do some errands. Cheerio!

4:56 PM  
Blogger gooner71 said...

Sorry that I've been so in and out.

I'm angry at France for being so abject, but I'm not going to miss Albania, one bit. Their style is all the riposte required to people in favor of bloating this tournament with more and more teams who can only succeed with obdurate organization and the odd bit of luck. I will miss those half pterodactyl egg hats that some of their fans sported in the stands. Those were bonkers.

5:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home