MX23RW : Friday, July 30 11:19:54| >> :600:313966:313966:
Jun 5, 2021 at 5pm UK at Millennium Stadium
WalesWales
0-0
AlbaniaAlbania

Brooks (37'), Norrington-Davies (58'), Mepham (83')
FT

Ismajli (28'), Manaj (37'), Abrashi (83'), Laci (83')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's International Friendlies clash between Wales and Albania, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Wales will complete their preparations for Euro 2020 on Saturday evening when they take on Albania at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Robert Page's side suffered a 3-0 defeat to France in their last friendly on Wednesday, while Albania, who will not be present at this summer's European Championships, beat San Marino 2-0 in their last match.


Match preview

Wales caretaker manager Robert Page pictured on March 27, 2021© Reuters

Wales can take plenty of encouragement from their performance against France on Wednesday, despite the fact that Page's side suffered a three-goal defeat to the Euro 2020 favourites.

Neco Williams was sent off in the 25th minute of the friendly following a handball, and it was always going to be an uphill task from that moment against one of the finest international sides in world football.

Wales will open their European Championships against Switzerland on June 12 before also taking on Turkey and Italy in Group A, with all four sides capable of making an impression in the section.

The Dragons enjoyed an excellent Euro 2016, as they reached the semi-finals of the competition before losing to Portugal, who overcame France in the final courtesy of an extra-time effort from Eder.

Wales have shown that they have what it takes to compete at this level, and Saturday's clash with Albania will be another valuable exercise for the national side ahead of the start of the championships.

Albania coach Edoardo Reja pictured on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Albania, meanwhile, qualified for Euro 2016 - being eliminated in the group stages - but they will not be present at this summer's championships, having finished fourth in Group H, losing five of their 10 matches.

The Red and Blacks have made a positive start to their 2022 World Cup qualification campaign, though, picking up six points from their three matches to sit third in Group I behind England and Hungary.

Albania have actually won five of their last six matches in all competitions, while they have lost just one of their last eight matches during a strong run of form.

Edoardo Reja's side have not been in action since recording a 2-0 win over San Marino at the end of March, with Rey Manaj and Myrto Uzuni on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Albania's last friendly brought a 2-1 win over Kosovo in November 2020, while they recorded a 1-0 victory over Wales when the two national teams locked horns in a friendly in November 2018.

Wales International Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Wales form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Albania International Friendlies form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Albania form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W



Team News

Wales' Daniel James celebrates scoring their first goal against the Czech Republic in World Cup Qualifying on March 30, 2021© Reuters

Wales, as it stands, will be without the services of Williams through suspension, as the Liverpool defender was shown a red card in the 3-0 defeat to France on Wednesday evening.

The Dragons have appealed the ban, but Williams will be absent unless the situation changes.

Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies were second-half substitutes against France but could now come into the starting side, while Gareth Bale, Daniel James and Harry Wilson are all likely to feature once again.

There are three uncapped goalkeepers in the Albania squad, and Alen Sherri could potentially get the nod between the sticks for this match.

The away side's XI will still have a number of familiar faces, though, with Atalanta BC's Berat Djimsiti set to line up at the back, while Basel's Amir Abrashi should be present in the middle of the park.

Sokol Cikalleshi is the leading goalscorer in the squad with 10, and the 30-year-old is likely to feature for Albania in the final third of the field alongside Manaj.

Wales possible starting lineup:
Ward; Roberts, Rodon, Mepham, Davies; Morrell, Allen, Ramsey; H Wilson, Bale, James

Albania possible starting lineup:
Sherri; Ajeti, Djimsiti, Veseli; Laci, Abrashi, Ramadani, Bare, Lenjani; Manaj; Cikalleshi


SM words green background

We say: Wales 1-1 Albania

Wales will be determined to enter Euro 2020 off the back of a win, but we are finding it difficult to back the hosts with any real confidence. Albania have a lot of talent and are capable of securing a share of the spoils at the Cardiff City Stadium this weekend.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Wales vs Albania

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Albania
13.0%
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West Bromwich Albion striker Hal Robson-Kanu pictured in September 2020
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ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

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SWIMMING
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· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

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