France visit Albania on Saturday with concerns over their defence following last week’s defeat to Belgium.
The Euro 2016 hosts were beaten 4-3 by Belgium at the Stade de France last Sunday, a result that came less than three months after a 3-1 loss to Brazil in their last game at the national stadium.
Those results were separated by a 2-0 win over Denmark, however, one year out from the tournament, lapses at the back will be a worry to coach Didier Deschamps.
The France backline is unlikely to receive the same kind of examination in Elbasan in this weekend’s friendly, but Lyon right-back Christophe Jallet is well aware of the need to improve.
“When a team concedes goals it is everyone who is responsible,” Jallet said. “Obviously we defenders are the first to blame because it is our first task.
“But we are all concerned, those who played
, those who did not play.
“We know that there areas that we must work on and it [defence] is one. Better that it happens now than in a year.”
The France defence will be boosted by the presence of Patrice Evra, who, along with Juventus team-mate Paul Pogba, is back with the squad after missing the Belgium game due to their participation in the UEFA Champions League final.
However, one man who may not feature is striker Olivier Giroud after the Arsenal striker reportedly picked up an injury in training.
Giroud’s potential absence would perhaps open the door for Ligue 1 player of the year Alexandre Lacazette. The Lyon striker was a half-time substitute against Belgium and will be keen to prove himself after a 31-goal season for his club.
But that will be no straightforward task against an Albania side that held France to a 1-1 draw in a friendly back in November and are in contention for automatic qualification for the finals.
Gianni De Biasi’s men beat Portugal 1-0 in their opening qualifier and have since earned a draw with Denmark and beat Armenia 2-1.
Albania’s form in qualifying has left them third in Group I, level on points with second-placed Denmark and two behind leaders Portugal.
And, with crucial fixtures versus both of those teams to come in September, another strong performance against a side of the standard of France would be a timely boost as Albania aim to try to qualify for a major tournament for the first time.
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