Group A comes to a close tonight and no offence intended to Romania and Albania, all eyes are likely to be on this match at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille. France
France go into the match having already qualified for the last 16, however, Switzerland have a chance to top the group if they can claim victory tonight but will be searching to reach the knockout stages of the European Championships for the first time ever in any position. Despite claiming the maximum six points from their first two matches, France have had to rely on late goals to see off Romania and Albania so Switzerland should take heart from this and believe that they can upset the hosts. In order to do this, the wayward finishing of forwards Haris Seferović and Blerim Džemaili needs to improve. Switzerland will also be after revenge for the last time the two sides met, France thumped Switzerland 5-2 in their group match at the World Cup in 2014. France ran out easy winners despite missing a penalty.
Switzerland- Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Schär, Djourou, Rodriguez, Fernandes, Dzemaili, Xhaka, Shaqiri, Embolo, Mehmedi
Switzerland are expected to make a few changes for this match. Valon Behrami has a knee injury and is a doubt, with the most likely replacement being former Manchester City midfielder Gélson Fernandes. Elsewhere, the poor finishing of Seferović could cost him his place with Basel youngster Breel Embolo coming in.
France- Lloris, Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra, Pogba, Kante, Matuidi, Griezmann, Giroud, Payet
Didier Deschamps is expected to hand recalls to Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, especially after Griezmann broke the deadlock against Albania with his late header. This will see France revert to the team they opened the tournament with against Romania. The only slight concerns for the French are that N’golo Kante and Oliver Giroud are one booking away from receiving a one-match suspension.
The key man in midfield for Switzerland is Granit Xhaka. English fans will soon get to know a lot about him as on the eve of the tournament he secured a £30million move to Arsenal. It is expected that he will bring the much-needed steel to their midfield. Xhaka has a keen eye for a pass and has the ability to convert defence into attack with just one killer pass. He also likes a tackle, he is a really tough competitor and is not afraid to leave the ground when challenging for the ball. Sometimes this can get him into trouble but when he gets it right it can make him a very tough midfielder to face.
He was a fringe player at best for his country at the start of the season and a very unfamiliar face to English fans but this has been a dream season for Dimitri Payet. He is now a crucial player for club and country, the wing-wizard has already got his country out of a few tight spots this tournament, namely scoring a stunning late winner against Romania and a lovely late solo goal to finally make the game safe against Albania. Payet has shown some wonderful touches this tournament and his delivery into the box has been sublime. His performance will have a large bearing on whether France take the three points or not.
Both sides have lacked a cutting edge in their previous two group games so I can’t see this being a high-scoring affair. I do think that France have the greater quality, especially in the midfield and they will use this to their advantage to win the midfield battles. This will see them continue their 100% record in the tournament and run out 2-0 winners.