France v Albania
Thursday June 16, 5:00am
France looked to be heading to an underwhelming start to the tournament before Dimitri Payet scored a late stunner to give the hosts a winning start. Albania, meanwhile, will rue some missed chances that cost them a point against a below-par Switzerland side and now face an uphill task if they are to progress.
Since the start of 2013 France have played 16 games against teams we had ranked 40th-100th and have won 13 times with 10 by more than one goal and 11 where they were winning at half-time and full-time. Moreover, of the 10 home games within this, eight had at least four goals as they recorded nine wins and seven by more than one goal. Given how their attack has improved it would be a surprise if they didn’t continue to post similar stats in future matches.
The Albanians showed in the opening game that they won’t be overawed and these teams have actually met twice in friendlies since 2014, with the underdogs winning in 2015 and then picking up a draw in France in 2014.
Nonetheless, their valiant efforts in their opening game came despite seeing their captain sent off in the first half and that extra effort, plus a day less rest, should prove costly for them here.
A major issue for Albania will be trying to stop this French attack from scoring as since they beat them a year ago Les Bleus have started to click. France have scored at least twice in nine of their last 10 matches with eight of the games having at least three goals.
We expect France to improve in this game and show their superior class over Albania. The France/France double at about 1.67 looks reasonable, and given Albania’s poor scoring record so does the Win to Nil at the same price.
BACK – France/France Half Time/Full Time at 1.67