Sunday, 22 September, 2019

France ease past Albania after anthem farce

Albania's players line up for the national anthem- only for the wrong song to be played Albania's players line up for the national anthem- only for the wrong song to be played
Shannon Reynolds | 10 September, 2019, 13:23

Saturday's match was set to kick-off at 8:45pm local time in Paris, only for kick-off to be briefly put back when the wrong anthem was played over the stadium tannoy.

The stunned visitors lined up to a rendition of the national anthem of Andorra - which was played in full - instead of their own tune Himni i Flamurit - the Pledge on the Flag.

As Albania's soccer team linked arms and prepared to sing their national anthem, a sense of confusion started to ripple around the Stade de France.

Eventually it was, although not before further embarrassment as, according to L'Equipe, the stadium announcer promised "the Armenian anthem" would be played.

A mix-up saw the national anthem of Andorra played by mistake, resulting in a seven-minute delay as Albania would not start the match without the error being rectified.

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The win ensured France would keep pace atop Group H of Euro 2020 qualifying with Iceland, as both countries have 12 points after five rounds of fixtures.

Kingsley Coman did not waste time in raising his hand for Les Bleus, as he opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a poked effort that sneaked in at the near post, following fine a through ball from Raphael Varane.

Olivier Giroud would add a second in the 27th minute before Coman scored again in the second half to give the home side a three-goal advantage.

Albania got a consolation after Hugo Lloris tripped Cikalleshi inside the box and the 29-year-old converted the spot-kick himself as it ended 4-1.

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