By Jack Rodway (France) & Amber Marsh (Albania)
France (Jack Rodway)
How I will watch it
With my feet up in my front room after rushing back from work. When would you ever rush back from anything to watch France play Albania? Thanks Euros.
Last match recap
It wasn’t the performance most of us were expecting last Friday night, as a less than impressive 2-1 win against Romania saw the French stumble over the line. But as they say a win is a win.
Before the game had begun I was sat at home scratching my head as to why Payet was chosen ahead of Antony Martial, it is safe to say he shut me right up. A stunning performance in the hosts opening game was capped off by his outrageous last minute winner. Take his goal away and you would still be saying that Payet was the best player on the pitch. The French will be hoping for more of the same this evening. However, he will need a much larger supporting cast in attack than he received last time – that especially means you Antoine Griezmann, who I heavily built up before the last game.
On a positive note Kante played well, marshalling France’s midfield, although just as effective as when he plays for Leicester City, his performance appeared more disciplined. I think this is the game where Les Bleus make a statement and we stop thinking and get to the hard evidence to this effect… as more of the players relax and play the game rather than the occasion.
Prediction: France 2 – 0 Albania
It would take a brave person to bet on anything in Albania’s favour… so I am not going to do so. This really can’t be anything other than a victory for France against the weakest team in their group, despite the brave effort the Albanians put in on Saturday, with 10 men against Switzerland. There is too much quality for Albania to contend with. A comfortable 2-0 victory for the French, and that should see them safely through to the knockouts with a game to spare.
Albania (Amber Marsh)
Strangely enough I do know a little bit of what is going on in the Euros thus far (Thanks Jed Woodcock). My favourite moment so far was the look on toddler Ronaldo’s face last night as his free kick failed to give him a goal and subsequently Portugal drew with Iceland. But anyway, back to my homeboys Albania. If I am being completely honest, I am swaying more to wanting France to win as I used to live there for three months of every year. But I will be pleasantly surprised if Albania come out and win this – I mean more unlikely things have happened right? (Not that I’d know – I prefer rugby and Japan beat South Africa at the World Cup last year).
Last match recap
(After checking up on BBC Sport as I didn’t actually watch said game) I now know Albania will be without their captain after being suspended and being sent off in their disappointing defeat to Switzerland… Oops.
Something I do know about that game was that Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka and elder sibling Taulant made history by becoming the first brothers to play on opposing sides at the European Championships… Bet Taulant was jealous when Granit walked off having beaten him and been awarded man of the match… awkward.
Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic: “I was not afraid of losing our lead, but we should have scored more. We will be mentally stronger after coming through this.”
“The first 20 minutes were very important and very good. After that, we played backwards too much and allowed them back into the game.”
Albania coach Giovanni De Biasi: “The key moments of the game were the goal from Fabian Schar, the dismissal of Lorik Cana and our three misses from close range that could have changed the game.”
“The red card really changed the balance of the game. We had to change our approach.”
To be honest, I think the score was inevitable seeing as Switzerland have won six out of their seven meetings with Albania.
How I will watch it
Right… I am not the biggest watcher of football unless I have my boyfriend forcing me to watch it. Therefore to get out of having to sit on the sofa watching it and listen to Jed talk nonsense and tell me his idea of “fun facts” about the game, I will drag myself to the gym (unfortunately there will be TVs all around with the game on) so of course I will have my boyfriend next to me talking tactics and all things football that I will just smile and nod at. There’s no getting away from it.
3 Weeks, 4 Days, 4 Hours, 37 minutes left until the Euros are over.
Prediction: France 4 – 2 Albania
I was very wrong with my prediction in the last game (not that I knew what the odds were – but I felt mine was more realistic than my mother’s suggestion of a 4-4 draw). I predict because of my trusted BBC Sport informing me that France have won four of the six matches they have played against Albania. However Albania have won the last two of their games to France therefore I predict they will at least score two goals.