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Romania v Albania: Andone braced for ´life or death´ showdown

Defender Dragos Grigore says the whole Romania team must take responsibility for their lack of attacking threat ahead of a crucial match against Albania at Euro 2016, as Claudiu Keseru and Florin Andone contemplate the grim prospect of going home early.

Romania have scored twice so far at the European Championship, Bogdan Stancu netting from the penalty spot in a 2-1 loss to France and the 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

Those results have left the team third in Group A and in need of points to try and snatch second or progress as one of the four best third-placed sides.

“The defence is not just the goalkeeper and defenders but the whole team; equally, the attack is not only the forwards and offensive midfielders but also the players behind,” Grigore said.

“It is our fault as well that the forwards have not received enough of a supply line.”

Meanwhile Stancu, the first player to score multiple penalties at the tournament since Gaizka Mendieta in 2000, is expecting another tough match against the debutants in Lyon on Sunday.

“We recognise how good the Albanians are, how committed they are and how physical their approach is,” he said.

“From this point of view we have to be clever and tricky against them, because otherwise qualifying would become problematic.”

That may have been something of an understatement from the Genclerbirligi player, with international team-mate Keseru striking a more alarmist note.

“Not qualifying would be sad, terrible, horrible,” he said.

And Andone was similarly dramatic in his assessment of what is at stake for Romania: “It will be life or death, one or the other.”

Albania will not make it easy for Andone, Keseru and their team-mates to avoid elimination, though.

Having lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening game, the newcomers looked set to earn a battling point against the hosts in Marseille on Wednesday, before the late intervention of Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet, who struck in the final moments to seal a 2-0 win.

“We can beat Romania to qualify,” Albania coach Gianni De Biasi said.

“If we can score the goals we haven’t so far we can definitely get the points we need to get into the next round. We’ve shown we’re a proper team and play good football.”

A draw could still be enough for Romania to progress in third place, but only a win – and other results going their way – will do for Albania.

Both teams have three players one yellow card away from being suspended for the round of 16.

Albania’s Ergys Kace, Burim Kukeli and Mergim Mavraj and Romanian trio Vlad Chiriches, Adrian Popa and Razvan Rat must be on their best behaviour at Stade de Lyon if they want to feature in the first knockout round, should their team progress. 


Key Opta stats:

– Romania are unbeaten in their last 13 games against Albania (W10 D3). Albania’s last win was in May 1948 (1-0 in Bucharest).
– Albania have never scored more than one goal in their 16 games against Romania.
– Romania have only won one of their 15 games at the European Championships (D5 L9). It came in June 2000 against England (3-2).
– Only Turkey have failed to score in their first ever three games at EURO finals. Albania could join them if they fail to find the net against Romania. 

Fri 17 Jun, 2016
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