MX23RW : Thursday, September 23 00:18:43| >> :600:1178367:1178367:
Jun 11, 2016 at 2pm UK at Stade Bollaert-Delelis
AlbaniaAlbania
0-1
SwitzerlandSwitzerland

Cana (37')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Schar (5')

Live Commentary: Albania 0-1 Switzerland - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Switzerland's 1-0 victory over 10-man Albania in their Group A fixture at Euro 2016.
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An early goal from Fabian Schar has earned Switzerland a 1-0 victory over Albania in their Group A fixture at Euro 2016.

Schar headed home in the fifth minute after getting ahead of goalkeeper Etrit Berisha at a corner and the Swiss controlled large parts of the contest after Lorik Cana was sent off for two yellow cards.

Albania still had their opportunities to find a way back into the match but Switzerland were deserved winners as they moved level on points with France.

Read below to see how the action unfolded in Lens.


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Hello, and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Euro 2016 fixture between Albania and Switzerland.

Just over 17 hours have passed since France and Romania got us underway in Paris last night and we are already onto our second Euro 2016 fixture. It's not the most glamorous of games to act as a warm-up to Wales and England playing later on today but it's a contest between two teams who know that three points in Lens will put them within touching distance of a place in the last 16.

France's victory last night has put them on course to seal their expected first place in what is considered a favourable group but qualification and group positions may not be decided until the last game in this competition after the introduction of four third-place qualifiers. It makes games such at this one as vitally important to the smaller nations who would have previously qualified for a major tournament with more hope than expectation.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the two starting lineups...

SWITZERLAND XI: Sommer, Rodriguez, Djourou, Schar, Lichtsteiner, Xhaka, Dzemaili, Behrami, Mehmedi, Seferovic, Shaqiri

While we await confirmation of the Albania side, let's take a look at a Switzerland side that includes a number of familiar names. Viewers of Premier League football will recognise the names of Johan Djourou, Valon Behrami and Xherdan Shaqiri, while new Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka takes his place in the team. When you combine the likes of Ricardo Rodriguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner, who realise that the Swiss have quite a decent lineup!

ALBANIA XI: Berisha; Hysaj, Mavraj, Cana, Agolli; Xhaka, Kukeli, Abrashi; Roshi, Lenjani; Sadiku

Some of you may not be so familiar with the Albania side, who are competing in their first ever major tournament. Captain Lorik Cana is perhaps the most recognisable name, with the Nantes defender having 92 caps to his name and having previously represented the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Sunderland and Lazio. Goalkeeper Etrit Berisha is also on the books of Lazio while Armando Sadiku - who plays for Liechtenstein side Vaduz - is given responsibility to lead the attack.

Incase you were wondering, we haven't made a mistake by including Xhaka in both starting lineups. That's because there is a Xhaka brother on either side - Granit for Switzerland and Taulant for Albania - in what has the potential to be the biggest sibling clash since Undertaker vs. Kane at Wrestlemania XIV. It's a very rare occurrence to have two brothers squaring off for different nations so it should be intriguing to watch how it all unfolds, especially given both players are midfielders.

HEAD TO HEAD! Today's clash represents the seventh time that the two nations have faced each other on the international scene, with Switzerland currently undefeated in their previous six matches. Their most recent meetings came during the qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup, with the Swiss earning 2-0 and 2-1 wins respectively.

Before we continue to take a look at this match, why not take a look at what went down in Paris last night between France and Romania. It's fair to say it was a dramatic game! You can catch up with our match report and reaction by clicking here.

That's not all. We have a dedicated section to all of the goings on in France, which you can view here. Be sure to check it regularly for all the team news, match reports, reaction and live commentaries that we have for you over the next four weeks.

At one stage, it seemed that Switzerland were in danger of not qualifying for this tournament. They were beaten by both England and Slovenia in their opening games to leave them with an uphill task to finish in the top two but they went through the remainder of the campaign by registering seven wins from eight, with the key result coming in the reverse game against Slovenia where they netted three times in the closing stages to pull off a remarkable 3-2 triumph. Now they are here, though, they will be disappointed with anything less than a quarter-final appearance with second place in the group seemingly theres for the taking.

As for Albania, they were involved in the one and only five-team group but they came through it with flying colours. Their victory on away territory against Portugal shocked Europe and although they were ultimately left clinging on to second spot, they deserve huge credit for ousting the likes of Denmark and Serbia to earn their first ever appearance at a major tournament. Their form heading into the tournament is average at best but expect Albania to make the most of gaining the opportunity to showcase their talents among Europe's elite.

We are getting very close to the two teams making their way out onto the pitch at Stade Bollaert-Delelis. I think it's time for a prediction!

PREDICTION! While we expect Albania to be up for making an impression, Switzerland's big-tournament experience should benefit them and with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri in their attack, a bit of magic is never too far way. Switzerland to prevail 2-1.

Fair to say that's this match may be extremely competitive...



The two teams are out. What an atmosphere!

Albania get us started in Lens. This could be a quality game...

Switzerland have started this game on the front foot and an excellent move ends with Shaqiri seeing a threatening cross diverted away for a corner. Nothing comes from the set piece but this has been a fast start from the Swiss.

Granit Xhaka has just gone flying in with two feet on an Albanian midfielder. Just a foul was awarded but he was a bit fortunate there. I think he may take to the Premier League...

GOAL! Albania 0-1 Switzerland (Schar)

What on earth is the goalkeeper doing?! An inswinging corner from Shaqiri finds the head of Schar and after Berisha completely misses his punch, the defender has the simple task of heading into the empty net. First blood to Switzerland.

Albania have their first look at a dead-ball situation but they try to be too clever and the floated ball into the centre of the penalty area is easily cleared by Switzerland.

Switzerland look very composed here while Albania look rattled. This isn't what they had in mind for the start of this game. They have the bulk of the support, however, so don't expect them to feel downhearted.

BOOKING! Switzerland's goalscorer becomes their first yellow card too. The ball was going nowhere in the corner but Schar decided he wanted to dive into a tackle to dispossess the attacker. Instead, he gifted a set piece away in a promising position but Albania could not make the most of it.

CHANCE! Switzerland should be two goals ahead. After Shaqiri challenged for the ball, it felt invitingly for Seferovic but the striker, who hasn't fared very well in front of goal this season, scuffed his effort and it went straight into the grateful hands of Berisha.

Taulant Xhaka shows intent to get a move going for Albania but he soon lost possession to guess who? His brother, who showed great desire to get one over his sibling. Arsenal look to have bagged themselves a quality addition. No more chances to speak of.

Albania win their first corner of the match after Schar is forced to head behind but despite a good ball into the area, Switzerland clear the corner. The opening quarter of this contest has flown by but we still have just the one goal to speak of so far.

BOOKING! The second yellow card of the game goes to Cana, who can have no complaints after a knee-high challenge on Dzemaili. The referee is doing a very good job at the moment.

CHANCE! That's better from Albania. Xhaka gains possession of the ball before playing a one-two with Roshi, who held off the attention of a defender. However, Xhaka's first-time effort was rushed and blasted high and wide into the stands.

Switzerland have had to deal with some sustained pressure from Albania over the past few minutes. They have had to switch the gameplan from possession football to trying to counter-attack as a result of Albania steeping up at the back.

CHANCE! What a chance! The pressure had been building and Albania should have made it count when Hysaj tremendous through ball found the run of Sadiku but with just the goalkeeper to beat, the forward hit his effort straight at the advancing Sommer, who made himself as big as possible to close down the ball.

Switzerland have started to restore normal order. That chance for Sadiku had the potential to unsettle them but Albania have retreated and Switzerland are back in the ascendancy. Ten minutes to go until the break.

RED CARD! Lorik Cana - what have you done?! The Albanian skipper slipped during a foot-race with Seferovic and he instinctively put his arm out to prevent the striker from going through on goal on the edge of the area. A second yellow card followed and that's the end of his game.

WOODWORK! From the resulting free kick, Dzemaili lashed a ferocious effort towards the bottom corner, only to see his shot ricochet off the post and rebound clear. So, so close! Albania need half time.

CHANCE! Albania are hanging on here. Lichtsteiner broke forward with ease before pulling the ball back to Dzemaili on the edge of the area. His first-time effort looked destined for the bottom corner but it evaded the near post by inches.

CHANCE! Switzerland are creating a lot of opportunities now. Seferovic was released into the penalty area by a fine through ball but his strike was well smothered by Berisha, who went some way to redeeming himself after his earlier mistake.

There will be one minute of added-on time.

HALF TIME: Albania 0-1 Switzerland

The half-time whistle has gone in Lens and Switzerland deservedly lead through Schar's early goal. Albania should have equalised but the sending off of Cana could be huge. If Switzerland score again, that could be that.

We are almost ready for the second half. It's vitally important that Albania keep things tight after the restart. They are still in this match as long as they keep it at a one-goal deficit.

Switzerland get us back underway.

Not much action to report at the start of the second half but as expected, Switzerland are dominating possession. Rodriguez is starting to become more of a threat down the left and is through-ball almost found Shaqiri before Berisha came out to claim.

Albania have struggled to get hold of the ball since half time but an outstanding direct ball causes confusion in Switzerland's backline with Djourou getting ahead of Sadiku but almost diverting the ball past his own goalkeeper. Fortunately for the former Arsenal man, Sommer is able to change direction and collect the ball.

SAVE! Switzerland are starting to put together some very well-constructed moves and they almost find a way past Berisha when Seferovic gets into a shooting position but the goalkeeper reacts well to keep the effort out.

SHOT! The pressure continues to come from Switzerland and Xhaka is the next player to try his luck but his first-time attempt is poor and miles off target.

Sadiku is extremely isolated in the Albania final third but his teammates are doing a great job of keeping the score at 1-0. Possession is proving difficult to come by but they remain eager to catch out their opponents with the direct approach once they get the ball in midfield.

SUBSTITUTION! Here comes the first changes of the match. Ergys Kace is on for Albania in place of Taulant Xhaka, while Swiss forward Breel Embolo is on for Mehmedi, who hasn't featured much. Big cheers from the Swiss contingent.

BOOKING! He has only been on the pitch for two minutes but Kace is already in the book for a cynical shirt-tug and hack-down of Behrami, who was surging towards the Albania penalty area.

CHANCE! Switzerland should have sewn this match up! Embolo plays a delightful ball through to the onrushing Seferovic but after escaping the attentions of the defender, his shot is blocked by Berisha who has been superb since his error.

There's a lot to like about these two sides. Switzerland have been very easy on the eye and Albania are working extremely hard to remain in this game. They are showing why they deserve their place at this tournament.

SUBSTITUTION! Albania make their second alteration with Roshi being replaced by Sokol Cikalleshi. Two up front now for the 10 men.

SHOT! Big chance for Embolo who received the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area but his first-time effort intended for the far top corner just cleared the crossbar.

CHANCE! Albania are still in this, you know! The ball was slotted through to Sadiku, who did well to anticipate the ball and keep it away from Rodriguez, but his shot towards the near corner went into the side-netting from close range.

Big penalty appeals from Albania who feel that Lenjani wads barged over in the box by Lichtsteiner but the referee waved away their calls for a spot kick. Difficult one to call but you cannot blame the midfielder for going down.

SUBSTITUTION! Shkelzen Gashi is on for Albania with Sadiku making way. He has done a lot of running for his team today. Back to the earlier penalty appeal and it should have been given.

This game is a lot more open than Switzerland would like but they are still creating chances. Fabian Frei - who came on as a substitute earlier this half - tried to find the top corner from distance but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

That said, Seferovic and Shaqiri are starting to tire in attack. That could play into Albania's hands when they retrieve possession.

SAVE! Oh my word - what a chance! Gashi beat the offside trap - much to the surprise of himself and the Switzerland defence - but after being left with plenty of time to pick his spot, he could not beat Sommer who pulled off an outstanding save.

There will be three minutes of added-on time.

Albania are throwing everyone forward. This isn't over just yet.

FULL TIME: Albania 0-1 Switzerland

The full-time whistle goes in Lens and Switzerland have held on to get their Euro 2016 campaign up and running with a narrow 1-0 win. They were pushed all the way by a determined Albania side but in the end, they deserved to move level on points with France at the top of Group A.

That will be all from Sports Mole's coverage of this game but we hope that you can stick around for Wales' clash with Slovakia, with our coverage starting shortly. Goodbye for now!

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Switzerland's midfielder Granit Xhaka celebrates with teammates midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri (L) and midfielder Gokhan Inler after he scored the team's second goal during the Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Switzerland and Estonia at the Swisspo
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