Slovakia reignited their UEFA Euro 2016 campaign on Wednesday after dismantling Russia with a 2-1 win, as goals from Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik saw them clinch their first points of the tournament despite Denis Glushakov's consolatory header.
In Group A, Switzerland were unable to build off the back of their 1-0 victory over Albania and could only claim a 1-1 draw against Romania, where Admir Mehmedi scored to cancel out Bogdan Stancu's early penalty.
France booked their spot in the next round by beating Albania 2-0, courtesy of late goals from Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet.
Slovakia's victory means they go level on points with Group B leaders Wales for the time being, and Russia now need to defeat the Welsh in their final fixture to have any chance of progressing.
Switzerland will book their ticket to the knockout stages with a draw against France, but even if they lose and Romania beat Albania on the final matchday, the Swiss are likely to advance as one of the best third-placed finishers.
Read on for a recap of the day's entertainment, complete with a look at the updated standings of those groups in action:
|Euro 2016: Wednesday Results|
|Team 1||Score||Team 2|
|Euro 2016: Group A Standings|
|Euro 2016: Group B Standings|
France 2-0 Albania
Les Bleus were far from their best on Wednesday, but similar to their 2-1 win over Romania in their first match, they found some late magic to get past a valiant Albania.
Substitute Griezmann was left far too open with with two minutes left to play to hand his team the lead, and Payet—an early candidate for the Player of the Tournament award—added a second goal in injury time.
The first half was a drab affair, with neither team mustering any real chances. Bleacher Report UK were disappointed:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
#FRA vs. #ALB: Half-time highlights #Euro2016 https://t.co/dXbETwY7kr2016-6-15 19:50:22
Play opened up after half-time, however, with both teams hitting the post in quick succession. First, Olivier Giroud nearly gave Les Bleus the lead with a powerful header, before a deflection beat Hugo Lloris but not the woodwork at the other end of the pitch.
Albania put together a strong showing, and the match appeared destined to remain scoreless, but with minutes left to play, Griezmann was left wide open inside the box, and he easily powered a header past goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.
BBC Sport's Andy West had some advice for France manager Didier Deschamps:
Andy West @andywest01
Dear Didier, Don't leave Griezmann on the bench again. Ever. Regards, France2016-6-15 20:57:04
Albania pushed for a late equaliser, but Les Bleus struck again on the counter just minutes later, as Payet cut inside and curled a great shot into the far corner for his second goal of the tournament.
France have yet to play their best football, but with two wins out of two contests, there are few reasons to complain. Les Bleus will have to play far better to get past Switzerland on Sunday and find success in the next round, however.
Romania 1-1 Switzerland
Switzerland were left wanting in their 1-1 draw against Romania, who picked up their first point of Euro 2016 on Wednesday thanks to Stancu's 18th-minute spot-kick.
Stephan Lichtsteiner pulled on Alexandru Chipciu's shirt inside the box, and it was left to Romania's front man to convert the resulting penalty and take his place as the tournament's current top scorer, per Bet365:
Bogdan Stancu at the Euros... 💨 Shots: 5 🎯 On target: 3 ️⚽️ Goals: 2 ✅ Top goalscorer #ROU https://t.co/q05bAVrLax2016-6-15 16:58:31
Romania actually looked like the more impressive outfit for long passages of the clash, but a Mehmedi bullet 12 minutes after the restart rescued a point for the Swiss, as shown by Copa90:
Mehmedi's belter 💥 💥💥 https://t.co/fQIwqnMexv2016-6-15 17:26:01
Manager Angel Iordanescu's side picked up five yellow cards and were put to the sword at times in the second period, but their draw means a win against Albania on Sunday could be enough to seal second place in the pool.
A win over the Romanians would have put Switzerland on two wins, but as things stand, Group A reads like an open book, and Albania in particular can still hold out hope of advancing.
Russia 1-2 Slovakia
Slovakia entered the tournament as underdogs to escape Group B, and while the defeat to Gareth Bale's Wales did little to improve their chances, Wednesday's victory has turned the odds on their head.
An inspired performance saw manager Jan Kozak's men become the first team to score two first-half goals at Euro 2016, starting with an emphatic cutback from former Manchester City man Weiss, per Match of the Day:
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
That's how you bounce back from a defeat against Wales Vladimir Weiss, take a bow https://t.co/WRqVp4eweW #RUSSVK https://t.co/uV3B3zXX6a2016-6-15 14:04:50
The best was yet to come, though, as Napoli playmaker Hamsik smashed home an early goal-of-the-tournament contender just before the break. He came in off the left before rasping a right-footed effort in off the far post, much to the delight of Belgium defender Vincent Kompany:
Match of the Day @BBCMOTD
What's not to love about that Hamsik goal? #RUSSVK #RUSSLO https://t.co/zBZsNwMQs52016-6-15 13:51:51
Russia showed more stability in the second period, but their buildup was slow and unimaginative, much like the team that relied on a late equaliser to rescue their 1-1 draw against England.
Head coach Leonid Slutsky responded with a string of substitutes, and it was one of them—Glushakov—who spun momentum in his side's favour with an 80th-minute header off Oleg Shatov's superb cross.
That was as far as their scoring endeavours went, though, and the BBC's Ben Dirs noted Slovak fans may need to be wary:
Ben Dirs @bendirs1
Hope the Slovakia fans brought their gumshields.2016-6-15 14:49:51
With just a point to their name, it appears only a win over Wales on Monday will be enough to see Russia challenge for a place in the knockout stage, while a three-point haul means Slovakia are very much in the frame to move ahead.