France v Albania, Wednesday June 15
Marseilles, Live on ITV, 8pm
The final match on Wednesday night sees hosts France once again take centre stage when they meet the plucky Albanians in Marseilles (kick off 8pm – ITV). France will be looking to wrap up qualification whilst Albania will be looking to bounce back from defeat in their opening game.
Albania – the story so far
Albania will be missing their captain Lorik Cana after he was sent off in his side’s 1-0 defeat against Switzerland, following his two (utterly deserved) deserved bookings inside 36 minutes. Despite being down to ten for so much of the game, the Albanians still made life very difficult for the Swiss, and though they rode their luck at times defensively, they were prepared to commit men forwards and turned the match into a thoroughly entertaining game.
Against France they will be given a far sterner test defensively and they will need to be far more disciplined against the trickery and guile of Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet. One silver lining for Albania is that they recently beat France in a friendly game and they players will need to believe that they can cause a similar upset once again.
France – the story so far
France’s opening match saw them defeat Romania 2-1 thanks to Olivier Giroud’s headed goal and a last-minute screamer from Dimitri Payet. In between times Romania were able to expose a few chinks in the armour of Didier Deschamps’ team and there are a number of areas the French will need to quickly improve if they are to justify their tag as pre-tournament favourites.
At times Patrice Evra looked a long way past his best and Paul Pogba in particular seemed off the pace in the opening game. There is already talk of Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman forcing their way into the starting XI for this game. Leicester City’s N’Golo Kante was an absolute rock in the centre of France’s midfield, breaking up playing and distributing the ball efficiently for 90 minutes, but France looked fragile at times and with nothing to lose, Albania won’t make things easy for them on Wednesday.
You’d have to fancy France once again for this game, but like the Romania game they will be tested by an Albanian team who have little to lose and know they’ve beaten this France team in the past. France have a wealth of attacking talent and will score goals, but Albania might pinch a goal of their own and cause an upset.
- Both teams to score @
- France to win and over 3.5 goals in the game @
- Anthony Martial to be the last goalscorer @
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