Tom Scholes takes a look at the individual performances of Les Bleus tonight, as they defeated Albania 2-0 at the Stade Velodrome.
Hugo Lloris: 6
The captain wasn’t called upon much this evening, but when he did he dealt with any pressure fairly well. A clean sheet will do him the world of good going into the knockout stages.
Bacary Sagna: 6
A standard performance from the right back, who didn’t do anything spectacular, yet remained solid at the same time. Maybe his legs aren’t in the same shape they were a few years ago, but he is still able to put in the performances when called upon.
Adil Rami: 6
Again, a solid performance at the back where the whole defence was largely untested, but Rami did put in the cross for the opening goal late on. It was a superb cross considering who it was from, but this performance will give both him and Koscielny a huge boost in regards to their partnership.
Laurent Koscielny: 6
Similarly to Rami, Koscielny wasn’t tested much throughout the 90 minutes, but maybe he will look back and feel that he could have gotten his name on the score sheet. The Arsenal man found himself in some good positions off of dead balls, but couldn’t convert any of them into goals.
Patrice Evra: 5
Evra has looked shaky since the first group game against Romania, largely due to his fatigue late on in games, and this game was no different. The Juventus full back started off well enough, but as the game went on, he found himself being late into challenges and losing his man too often.
Seeing as France have already qualified for the knockout stages, maybe Didier Deschamps could draft in Lucas Digne to see how he fairs.
N’Golo Kante: 6
An unusual performance from the Leicester City man, who didn’t exactly live up to his high standards that everyone expects from him. Every pass seemed to go astray, but fortunately his fitness levels going into the latter stages of the game allowed him to have an advantage going forward compared to the Albanian midfielders.
Hopefully as the Euros keep going, Kante plays more like the player that we have become accustomed to seeing for the Premier League champions.
Blaise Matuidi: 5
The PSG midfielder is usually a superb attacking threat whilst also being able to defend when needed, but tonight he just wasn’t up to his usual standards, just like Kante.
He gave the ball away a lot, and failed to win back possession in the middle of the park, but again his superior fitness levels kept him going, and eventually his workhorse mentality got him through the 90 minutes. I really do hope we get to see the real Matuidi sooner rather than later.
Kingsley Coman: 6
The tricky winger was drafted in for Antoine Griezmann for this game, and showed in glimpses why he is one of the best young talents in European football. Coman was the threat attacking wise for France in the first half, but couldn’t get a good enough end product to make it matter. Hopefully he gets another chance against Switzerland, but tonight was his big chance to show what he can do from the start.
Anthony Martial: 3
Similarly to Coman, Martial was the replacement for Paul Pogba (never easy boots to fill at the best of times), but couldn’t make an impact on the game at all. Martial was poor and was hauled off at half time for Pogba, but in his defence he rarely got any service for any chances. He tried to run at the Albanian defence, but he just kept getting the same results, and Deschamps took him off before Martial’s play became borderline madness.
Dimitri Payet: 7
It may not have been the same rousing display we saw last Friday at the Stade de France against Romania, but it was just as important. His goal deep into stoppage wrapped up the victory for Les Bleus, but he was a constant threat all night long, especially when he was moved out to the left wing, where he delivered some tantalizing crosses into Olivier Giroud.
Olivier Giroud: 5
Giroud had chances to add to his opening goal from last Friday, but the best he could do tonight was hit the base of the post with a deft header in the second half. It was a “typical” Giroud performance where he missed multiple chances, but the game wasn’t suited to his style of play. He will need to become a lot more lethal in front of goal as the tournament progresses, but Didier Deschamps will have to recognize in games that he may not be the best option in front of goal.
Paul Pogba: 6
After being dropped pre game, Pogba came on at half time for Anthony Martial, and immediately changed the dynamic of the game. The switch to 4-3-3 with Pogba’s introduction forced Albania to change their game plan and defend further out wide whilst keeping an eye on Pogba. He looked fresh and he looked ready to play, but he couldn’t grab a goal, but did provide a superb cross-field pass in the build up for the final goal.
Antoine Griezmann: 5
Like Pogba, Griezmann was dropped to the bench, but came on late on to great affect. His goal deep into normal time sent French fans into disarray and bailed out Les Bleus, but his pace did change the game too. Albania struggled to cover all the ground and keep up with Griezmann’s pace, even though the Atleti man was virtually anonymous throughout, and France will hope he can take this into the latter stages of Euro 2016.
Andre Pierre-Gignac: 6
A short but sweet appearance for Gignac in his former home of the Stade Velodrome, his appearance in the game sparked an ambition in the French attack that Giroud failed to provide. Gignac is a beast of a man, but also has enough pace to cause damage to the defences. Gignac may not be the most fashionable of strikers, but he will be an absolute gem for France going into the knockout rounds.