Romania v Albania
Sunday June 20, 5:00am
Both these sides have proved more than competitive in Group A, despite the fact that Albania are yet to pick up a point, as they both ran France close and Romania’s draw against Switzerland means that if they were to beat Albania here and the Swiss were to lose against France, then they could go through as runners-up, though it’ll come down to goal difference.
Winning could be a problem for Romania, however, as they’ve only managed one win in their last six and their record when playing sides that are below them in our rankings but are still inside the top-100 in the world is W7-D9-L3 since 2013 and six of those draws have come in the last seven of these matches.
Given the high number of draws, it’s unsurprising that these games have tended to be low-scoring, with 10 of the last 12 since 2014 seeing fewer than three strikes. Indeed, Romania have managed clean sheets in six of the last nine of these games, some of which came in qualification where they kept eight clean sheets in 10, but they’ve dipped defensively recently and are without a clean sheet in their last five.
This is the reason that their recent results have slipped as they’re not prolific goal scorers, netting more than once in just three of their last 14.
Albania have suffered defeat against some tough opposition in their last three games: Ukraine, Switzerland and France, but their record when playing teams that are ranked between 22 and 42 places higher than them is W3-D2-L2 since 2010. These games have been cagey affairs, with six of the seven having Under 2.5 goals while four had fewer than two.
Indeed, under Giovanni de Biasi the Albanians are generally very well organised and they managed to restrict France to just two shots on target in their last game but unfortunately for them, both of those strikes found the net for the hosts.
Since these sides have managed just two goals between them in the tournament so far and both of those were Romanian penalties, it’s somewhat surprising that Under 2.5 Goals is available at 1.96 in this one, particularly since both sides’ recent fixtures against relevant opposition types have also been very low scoring.
‘Unders’ is also strengthened by the fact that 10 of the 16 group stage matches between teams ranked outside the world’s top-25 at Euros and World Cups since 2008 had fewer than three goals. In terms of the match odds, Romania look on the short side at 2.2 since they’ve only won one of their last six and we’d be layers at that price, but since we expect a low-scoring encounter, the draw looks the best value in that market at 3.8.
BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at 1.84