Saturday, December 14, 2019

Prediction: France vs Albania

Verdict: France to score over 2.5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

The international break is upon us, and the UEFA region switches its focus entirely. Now every single European nation will concentrate on the 2020 UEFA European Championship Qualifiers . With that in mind, France will host Albania in the worldwide known Stade de France, easily one of the most recognizable venues all over the world, in Group H action. Kick-off for this match is slated at 19:45 BST. Jesus Gil Manzano will be the referee.

France

The reigning World Cup title holders have responded to that label during the European Championship Qualifiers thus far. Through the first four games, Les Bleus lead a surprisingly tight Group H since they sit at the top of the standings with nine points and a +9 goal differential. Turkey and Iceland also have nine points, and Albania have six, meaning things could get even tighter if a series of results happen during the next few days. But if we look at the form, then we can see France are clearly head and shoulders above the other teams in this zone. Didier Deschamps’ men have scored exactly four goals in each of their three wins during the European Championship Qualifiers, and their lone defeat came in a tough trip to Turkey last June. Since the end of the 2018 World Cup, France are W7, D2, L2 in all matches, including friendlies. Can they extend that positive run with another win here? At the very least, France deserve the favourites tag ahead of this contest.

Team News

There are no injuries for France ahead of this match. However, key players such as N’Golo Kante and Kylian Mbappe were not included on the squad due to ailments.

Albania

Albania have been surprisingly good so far in the European Championship Qualifiers if we look at the numbers. The Balkan side has six points in the first four matches (W2, L2), but if we look at things from a deeper perspective, then we can see things have gone “as planned” for The Eagles. Albania defeated Moldova at home and Andorra away, but they also lost at home against Turkey and on the road against Iceland. They already reached the European Championships four years ago, and they are looking to return to the tournament next year. But to do that, they need to conquer better results against the likes of Turkey and Iceland, perhaps knowing defeating France is not an easy thing to do. Perhaps the lone positive thing for Albania ahead of this game is the fact that they have already taken points against France in two of their last five H2H meetings (W1, D1, L3). Can they pull the upset one more time?

Team News

Albania are at full strength ahead of this tie.

Key Factors to Consider

  • France have won “only” three of the past five H2H meetings against Albania in all competitions (W3, D1, L1).
  • Les Bleus have also scored at least two goals in each of their last three wins against the Balkan side.
  • Three of France’s four EURO qualifying matches have featured at least two goals during the first half.
  • Albania have not been able to score in each of their last 14 competitive losses.
  • France have won three of their four UEFA European Championship qualifying games so far. All those wins have come by at least a three-goal margin.

Conclusion

As the reigning World Champions that they are, France have looked almost unstoppable in recent months. Albania could complicate them, but they won’t have enough energy to compete at a high level for the entirity of the match. Expect France to score at least three goals in this one.

Verdict: France to score over 2.5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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