• Mërgim Mavraj's 40th-minute header gives the visitors the lead
• Hugo Lloris makes several fine saves to keep France in the game
• Antoine Griezmann equalises in the 73rd minute for UEFA EURO 2016 hosts
• Lorik Cana earns national-record 80th cap for Albania
A 73rd-minute Antoine Griezmann strike denied Albania a historic first win against UEFA EURO 2016 hosts France as the sides drew 1-1 in front of a capacity crowd in Rennes.
Albania now hold realistic hopes of returning to France in two years to compete in what would be their first EURO finals and Giovanni de Biasi's team were impressive throughout, taking the lead via centre-half Mërgim Mavraj's 40th-minute header. Albania continued to enjoy the better chances, with Hugo Lloris making several fine saves before substitute Griezmann equalised.
Albania took matters to France from the off, captain Lorik Cana nearly celebrating his national-record 80th cap with a second-minute goal, only for his powerful header from Ledian Memushaj's corner to cannon off the crossbar. Mavraj was also centimetres away from opening the scoring after a smart free-kick routine, although France had opportunities as well with Karim Benzema nodding wide when unmarked.
Five minutes before half-time Albania made the breakthrough from another enterprising set piece. Memushaj played a short corner to Elseid Hysaj, who beat full-back Christophe Jallet before scooping a delightful cross which Mavraj glanced into the far corner.
In the second half, France skipper Lloris had to scramble to keep out an Emir Lenjani cross-shot and then leapt athletically to deny Hysaj. At last the French possession and territory told when Griezmann, on for Yohan Cabaye, netted his fifth international goal, playing a one-two with Jallet before unleashing a crisp drive into the corner from the edge of the area. Benzema slammed a chance over straight after as Les Bleus pushed for victory.