France v Albania Preview & Prediction: UEFA Euro Qualifiers Match Preview
The team that reached the finals of the 2016 Euros, and won the World Cup in 2018 are obviously favourites to top this group. Yet, there was doubt cast upon France's chances when they stumbled against Turkey.
Apart from the defeat against the Turks, France have beaten every other side they have faced in the qualifiers convincingly, scoring four in every win. They are currently top of the group, tied on 9 points with Turkey and Iceland but ahead on goal difference. The three nations will fight to the bitter end for the two top spots in the group. Although, France will still be favourites.
Albania is not a familiar rival for the French. They have only ever met 6 times in history and France have won on four occasions, and lost only once. The last time these two sides met was at the 2016 Euros and France triumphed 2-0 on that occasion en route to the final.
Date: 08 September 2019
Time: 00:15 IST
Venue: Stade De France
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano
Live Stream: Sony LIV
Form Guide (including friendlies)
There is plenty of quality in this France team. It's a team of world-class players in every position, and their form since the 2018 World Cup, barring the blip against Turkey has been imperious. In this game against an Albania side, that struggles to score too many goals, France may be faced with a very determined defensive unit.
Their key to unlocking this side will have to come from the creative output of its key players. Antoine Griezmann has had a stellar start at new club Barcelona. Despite the club's misfortunes, he has had good outings on 2 outings out of three on a personal level. Moreover, in the past, whenever France have relied on Griezmann, he often turns up for France regardless of club form.
Albania's best chance of getting something from this game is to keep this France side out and get them frustrated. The likes of Hysaj and Ajeti will be crucial in helping this Albania team gel together and work as a unit. The 25-year-old Hysaj can be expected to be central to Albania's defensive plan but playing on the break and his deliveries into the box could also cause France some problems.
Key Match Facts
France have not lost a home game in Euro Qualifiers since 2010.
France coach Didier Deschamps was in the France team that faced Albania for the first time ever in 1990, and once again in 1991.
Betting Odds (from Bet365)
The loss to Turkey and the manner in which the blow was struck to France was a wake-up call for this team. Deschamps will want to ensure that France go through the rest of this qualifying campaign without any further hiccups. They have plenty of challenging fixtures to worry about in terms of Iceland and Turkey and can't afford to lose games like this if they're to fulfil the expectations of the French supporters.
Albania haven't shown any recent form that should give them hope against a strong and determined French team. However, they need to get some points from the team above them if they have any hope of making it out of this group. However, their form in front of goal has been poor, especially against the big sides. They're currently 3 behind their opponents and in all likelihood, they will fall further behind.
France 3-0 Albania