Romania and Albania lock horns in a Group A encounter of the UEFA Euro 2016 at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais later tonight. It is a do-or-die encounter for both sides as the two occupy the bottom two places of their group and any hopes of qualification for the knockout stage as one of the four best-placed third place finishers will hinge on the result of tonight’s game.
Kuq e Zinjtë suffered a narrow defeat to Switzerland in their tournament opener and looked on course to take a point against hosts, France, before Les Blues scored twice in the dying minutes of the game to register a win. Albania have also failed to find the back of the net so far in the tournament and will be hoping to get the monkey off their back,
The Tricolorii also looked set to earn a draw against France, but a Dimitri Payet thunderbolt broke their hearts, while they held on to secure a draw against the Swiss.
Romania head coach, Anghel Iordanescu, has highlighted the importance of this ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ clash and has urged his side to secure a win to delight the entire nation.
In his pre-match press conference, Iordanescu said: “I ignore my number of matches with the national team. The most important thing is the objective we're pursuing. Our players have to understand that this is the chance of a generation.
“Romanian football needs this. For years, our team has not been present at EUROs and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to obtain a result that will delight the entire country.”
Meanwhile, Gianni De Biasi – head coach of Albania – has rued his side’s misfortune so far in the tournament and has warned his side about the threat the Tricolorii possess from set-pieces. He said: “The players have done a lot of good things so far. Unfortunately, we've paid dearly for our mistakes. And when we've had chances, perhaps we haven't been experienced enough to build on what we've done in the game. I've said to the guys, ‘If you want to carry on in this competition, you have to take advantage of your chances’.
“We need to be focused on the defensive side because Romania are strong from set pieces. They're very solid and similar to us in terms of mentality. We've prepared well and we'll try to play the perfect game tomorrow because we have to win.”
Romania will face Albania at Stade de Lyon on Sunday, 19 June, Kick-off is at 20:00 BST.
Live Stream and Kick-off time
The match will be live from 00:30 IST (Monday), 20:00 BST (Sunday). Watch live streaming of Iceland vs Hungary on SonyLIV. Follow Romania vs Albania, Euro 2016 Live Score and Commentary with Sportskeeda. The match will be telecasted live on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India, Fox Sports in the USA and Premier Sports in the UK. The match will be played at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon.
Razvan Rat, Mihai Pintilii and Bogdan Stancu all missed training due to minor knocks but are expected to undergo a late fitness test. While former Tottenham Hotspur man Vlad Chiriches along with Rat and Adrian Popa are a booking away from suspension.
While for the Eagles, midfielder Ledjan Memushah missed training due to a calf injury and will remain sidelined for the match. Lorik Cana, who was sent off in the opening game, will be back in contention for a starting berth having served his one-match suspension. Florin Andone, who was dropped for the game against Switzerland, could also make a return to the starting line-up instead of Claudiu Keseru.
Taulant Xhaka, the brother of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka, could also be reinstated in the Albanian starting line-up. Burim Kukeli will miss the match due to suspension.
Romania – Ttruanu; Spunaru, Chiriche, Grigore, Ra; Prepeli, Hoban; Torje, Stanciu, Stancu; Alibec
Albania – Berisha; Hysaj, Cana, Mavraj, Agolli; Lila, Xhaka, Kaçe, Abrashi, Lenjani; Sadiku
Form guide (Most recent first)
Romania – DLWLD
The Tricolorii have won only one of their last five encounters and would be hoping that they can record their first win of the tournament and be in the contention of qualifying for the knockout stages. In their remaining games, Anghel Iordanescu’s side have won two and drawn the rest.
Albania – LLLWW
Albania come into the match on the back of a three-match losing streak and will be looking to turn the tide against Romania. Before the start of their losing streak, the Eagles had won two back-to-back matches.
Head to Head record
In their last 13 encounters, Romania are unbeaten winning 10 and drawing 3 of those games.
Albania have faced the Tricolorii 16 times – the most they have played against any other opposition and have won only two of these games, drawing four and losing the remaining 10. The Eagles’ last win against Romania came in a 1-0 away victory in May 1948 in Bucharest.
When the two side’s last locked horns in a friendly in Yverdon, Switzerland in May 2014, Razvan Rat netted the only goal.
With both the teams expected to shun their defensive style in search of a win, a goal-fest cannot be ruled out. Romania hold the edge in the encounter due to their set-piece prowess, but Albania will give it their best shot to avoid the wooden spoon. However, the Eagles have yet to score in the tournament and it will require a special effort from Gianni De Biasi’s side to secure the three points. Our prediction is a 3-1 win for Romania.