France had needed late goals to beat both Romania and Albania and nearly gave themselves an early deficit to retrieve as Fabian Schär’s flick from a corner was almost touched in by Paul Pogba at the far post.
Pogba was quickly involved at the other end, firing in a shot from distance that nearly caught out Yann Sommer; only the top of the crossbar spared the goalkeeper’s blushes after he had fumbled.
Seconds later, the Switzerland No1 sprang to his left to tip a fierce, angled Pogba drive behind, but he was helpless again in the 17th minute as the Juventus midfielder surged forward and thumped in a 25-metre effort that again struck the woodwork.
The next clear chance took until the 57th minute to arrive, Antoine Griezmann brilliantly exchanging passes with André-Pierre Gignac before letting fly a shot that Sommer palmed behind.
With the pace of the game dropping, a draw seemed on the cards, but no one had told Moussa Sissoko. The midfielder broke through three challenges on the right and delivered a deep cross that found Dimitri Payet in space, the substitute smacking a volley off the bar.
Switzerland held out, however, ensuring the celebrations at the end would be shared.
Man of the match: Yann Sommer (Switzerland)
The Swiss goalkeeper got away with one early on as the crossbar rescued him, but was largely flawless thereafter, making one excellent stop to deny Pogba and looking assured thereafter. Has kept two clean sheets in three matches.
Pogba with a point to prove
Dropped for the matchday two win against Albania, Pogba was restored to the starting line-up here and began in thrilling style. He could have easily had three goals within the first 20 minutes, having been switched to the left of a three-man midfield by Didier Deschamps. He faded somewhat after that, but remained the game’s most likely source of inspiration.
Swiss need more than set pieces
Switzerland came into the match with both their goals at the tournament having come from corners, and set-pieces again seemed their most likely source of reward. Vladimir Petković brought in Breel Embolo for Haris Seferović as the lone striker, but needs his attack to show more threat from open play in the knockout stage