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Preview: Albania vs. France - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifying clash between Albania and France, including predictions, team news and potential lineups.

World Cup champions France travel to Albania on Sunday night as they look to wrap up their Euro 2020 qualification campaign with a win.

Didier Deschamps' side went to the top of Group H and secured their place at next summer's continental showpiece after beating Moldova 2-1, while Albania were pegged back twice as they drew 2-2 with Andorra.


Match preview

Albania's Elseid Hysaj in action on October 9, 2017 © Reuters

Eduardo Reja's Albania face the difficult task of picking themselves up for Sunday's game after the disappointment of Thursday's draw with Andorra.

The Eagles were heavy favourites and they got an early breakthrough thanks to Bekim Balaj, only for Cristian Martinez to score a double that gave Andorra a shock second-half lead, before Albacete striker Rey Manaj netted on 55 minutes to spare their blushes.

Albania had 79% of possession and they completed more than 630 passes in Thursday's game but they were only able to get five shots on target during the 90 minutes, often finding it difficult to get in behind Andorra's low block.

While Reja set them up with a 3-1-4-2 in that match, he is likely to opt for a more traditional 4-4-2 against a French team who themselves will want to dominate possession and keep the ball moving across the pitch.

France boss Didier Deschamps on November 14, 2019© Reuters

France did secure their place at Euro 2020 with a win in Paris on Thursday but they had to work for it after Vadim Rata had given Moldova an early lead.

Olivier Giroud's penalty got them the victory but they seemed unable to properly break their Eastern European opponents down and create enough good goalscoring opportunities for their dynamic forward players.

As such, Deschamps is likely to make a few changes to give France even more movement and agility up front as they look to secure top spot in the group with an eighth win in 10 qualifying matches.

France did win the reverse fixture 4-1 back in March, and they have won six of the eight previous meetings between the two, but, encouragingly for Albania, they did lose 1-0 when they last visited Tirana.

Albania recent form: WLWLWD

France recent form (all competitions): WWWWDW


Team News

France's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their second goal on November 14, 2019© Reuters

Albania entered these final two qualifiers without the services of several key players, including captain Mergim Mavraj, midfielder Taulant Xhaka and regular strikers Armando Sadiku and Sokol Cikalleshi.

Odise Roshi got two assists on Thursday and his delivery from the wide areas will be key as Reja looks set to put Albania out in a more conservative 4-4-2, with Elseid Hysaj presumably returning to start at right-back.

Deschamps will probably look to make changes across the pitch for France and try a few different things now that qualification is assured.

Leo Dubois is likely to start at left-back ahead of Lucas Digne, while Presnel Kimpembe could be preferred to Clement Lenglet at centre-back after it was the latter's mistake that led to Moldova's early goal on Thursday.

Matteo Guendouzi may get a debut in midfield alongside Corentin Tolisso, while Wissam Ben Yedder's movement, goalscoring form and greater match readiness should see him get the nod to start up front.

Albania possible starting lineup:
Berisha; Hysaj, Ismajli, Djimsiti, Veseli; Roshi, Menishaj, Bare; Sulejmanov; Balaj, Manaj

France possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Dubois; Sissoko, Tolisso; Mbappe, Griezmann, Lemar; Ben Yedder


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We say: Albania 1-3 France

Although they have already got qualification secured, France will want to end their campaign with a win and they should have enough to see off the home side in the second half.


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Who will win Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier between Albania and France?

Albania
Draw
France
Albania
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
France
0.0%
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France boss Didier Deschamps pictured on October 10, 2019
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