Romania v Albania, Sunday June 19
Lyon Live on BBC, 8pm
The final matches in Group A take place on Sunday evening when France meet Switzerland in Lille and Romania take on Albania in Lyon (8pm, BBC1).
Though both sides are yet to win a match at Euro 2016, qualification is still very much a possibility for both of these sides, though in all likelihood, a victory is the only result that either side will settle for.
Romania – the story so far
Should Romania beat Albania in this one, they could finish Group A in second place, assuming France beat Switzerland in the other match. Even if Switzerland draw or defeat France, 4 points should still be enough to take them through to the Round of 16 as one of the four best placed teams.
Romania were unfortunate not to hold on to a point in their opening game against France when Payet’s late strike pinched the points for Didier Deschamps men, and in their second match they will feel disappointed not to have held on against the Swiss, despite taking an early lead. Bogdan Stancu’s second penalty of the tournament had given Romania the lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match but Admir Mehmedi equalised for Switzerland just before the hour mark with a shot that passed through the crowded penalty area. From then onwards, the Swiss were largely dominant int he game, but never found the winning goal – unlike France a few days before.
Romania look functional rather than fantastic and the fact that they’re still without a goal from open play will probably be of concern to boss Anghel Iordansecu. Iordansecu has said himself that this game is a must-win affair and it would be no surprise to see his side play a more attacking and expansive game against weaker opposition. Razvan Rat and Mihai Pintilii look likely to start this game from the bench but Romania are unlikely to make wholesale changes and they’ll feel that having scored goals against Switzerland and France, they have the right starting line up to cause Albania enough problems on Sunday.
Albania – the story so far
Second place is already out of reach for Albania, but a win against Romania would guarantee them third place in Group A and leave them with a distinct possibility of progressing to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.
You certainly have to feel a little bit for Gianni De Biasi’s Albania side, who have been up against it from the very start of this competition. Down by a goal after 5 minutes and restricted to ten men in their opening game against Switzerland, they proved themselves to be a hugely game side, restricting the Swiss to just a single goal and posing an attacking threat of their own despite the numerical disadvantage. In their second match they bravely repelled a French side packed with talent for 90 minutes before substitute Antoine Griezmann broke their hearts. Dimitri Payet added a second in injury time to add insult to injury, but the Albanias should take an enormous amount of heart from the way they competed so well for so long.
What Albania now need to find is a goal. They have proven themselves a stubborn defensive unit, but without a goal or two, they are going home. Wingers Andi Lila and Ledian Memushaj have held up the ball well throughout the competition and look a threat on the break, but Albania have managed just 3 shots on target in their two matches, and this is going to need to change quickly if they’re to take anything from this game.
- Both teams to score @
- Romania to win by exactly 1 goal @
- Adrian Popa (Romania) first goalscorer @
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