France maintained its unbeaten run in home European Championship qualifiers since 2010 after the wrong national anthem was played for Albania before the match.
PARIS — In an embarrassing mix-up, the wrong national anthem was played for Albania before it faced France in a European Championship qualifier on Saturday.
Players looked bemused as they realized it was the wrong anthem—Andorra's, according to UEFA's website—with camera images showing angry Albanian fans making offensive gestures in protest at the error.
France coach Didier Deschamps spoke with Albania coach Edoardo Reja as referee Jesus Gil Manzano waited several minutes for the right anthem to be played at Stade de France before starting the game—which was delayed by nearly 10 minutes.
Then, when the correct anthem was about to be played there was another embarrassing incident as the stadium announcer apologized to ''Armenia's fans'' and called on fans to respect the ''Armenia national anthem'' before realizing his glaring mistake and saying Albania.
Meanwhile, on the field, as Olivier Giroud fights to start for Chelsea, his France place looks rock solid heading toward the European Championship next year.
By which time he might well have overtaken Michel Platini in France's scoring charts.
Giroud took his international tally to 36 with the second goal in Group H leader France's 4-1 home win against Albania in qualifying for Euro 2020 on Friday. Only France greats Platini with 41 and Thierry Henry with 52 have more goals for Les Bleus.
Yet Giroud is not always in favor with The Blues—Chelsea—despite the veteran striker finishing as top scorer in last season's Europa League with 11 as the London-based club won it to qualify for the Champions League.
At Stade de France, France maintained its unbeaten run in home European Championship qualifiers since 2010.
Albania's players were stunned when the wrong national anthem was played beforehand, but, once the action started, Kingsley Coman celebrated his second and third France goals in what has been an injury-hit international career since bursting onto the scene at Euro 2016.