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Nov 17, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
AlbaniaAlbania
0-2
France
FT(HT: 0-2)
Tolisso (9'), Griezmann (30')

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


Sports Mole Logo

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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France boss Didier Deschamps pictured on October 10, 2019
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Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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