Albania will be looking to build on their successful UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign when they face off against Georgia in Tbilisi on Monday. The two sides are tied on points at the top of Group Three, with the winners set to take top spot and qualification for next year’s tournament.
Albania have been in excellent form in qualifying, recording wins over France and Andorra, as well as a draw against Turkey. They have been spearheaded by captain and talisman midfielder Herolind Shala, who has netted three goals in four matches.
Georgia will be no easy opponents, however, having lost just one match in qualifying so far. They are led by striker Zurab Menteshashvili, who has scored six times in eight appearances. Monday’s fixture is set to be a close affair, with both teams capable of winning it.
Albania will be hoping that their home fixture against Andorra later this month will give them an advantage over Georgia ahead of the trip to Tbilisi. Victory over Georgia would see them seal top spot in Group Three and qualification for Euro 2020.
Albania will line up its two‑fold strategy in the match against France by playing offensively and defensively. This was decided after a meeting of the coaching staff and players, who said that they would do their utmost to win the match.
“Our game against France is very important for us, and we have to be very well prepared,” said Albania’s head coach Gianni De Biasi on Monday. “We must be offensive and defensive at the same time, because France is a great team with excellent players.”
The Albanian side has worked intensively on set pieces in their last training session ahead of Wednesday’s game at the Elbasan Arena stadium. “We have been working on our set pieces for some time now and I hope that we can score from them tomorrow,” midfielder Ergys Kace said.
Albania are currently third in Group I with six points from three games, while France are first with 10 points.
With their new coach Ljubinko Drulovic in place and a number of promising young players coming through the ranks, Albania are optimistic ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifiers.
After a disappointing showing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they finished bottom of their group, Albanian FA decided to part ways with veteran coach Edi Reja and appoint Drulovic.
The 51-year-old Serbian has worked wonders with the Albanian youth teams in the past, and he is looking to bring some of that youthful exuberance into the senior side.
Albania will be up against France, Turkey, Moldova, Andorra and Iceland in Group H of the Euro 2020 qualifiers, and they will be hoping to take some points from the bigger teams and pick up wins against the lesser sides.
One of the key players for Albania will be midfielder Mergim Mavraj. The 31-year-old has over 100 caps for his country and is one of their most experienced players. He will need to lead by example if Albania are to make an impression in this tough group.
Another player to watch out for is 21-year-old striker Armando Sadiku. The striker scored 15 goals in 23 appearances for Swiss side Luzern last season and he will be looking to add to that tally with some good performances for Albania.
Overall, there is a feeling of optimism around the Albanian camp going into these qualifiers. They have a new coach who is looking to bring in some fresh ideas, and they have a number of exciting young players who could make an impression on the big stage. If they can gel together as a team and play with intensity, then they could cause an upset or two in this group.
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Albania is coming into this matchup as a clear underdog, but they’re not content to just roll over and play dead. In fact, they’re planning on giving France a run for their money – and they might just take them down.
Here’s what you need to know about Albania’s strategy against France:
First and foremost, Albania is going to be aggressive. They’ll be looking to score early and often in order to take the wind out of France’s sails.
Second, Albania is going to focus on defense. They know that they can’t afford to give up any goals if they want to have a chance against France – so they’ll be playing tight defense and working hard to keep the ball out of their net.
Finally, Albania is going to rely on their home field advantage. This is their chance to show the world that they can compete with the best teams in the world – and they’re not going to let it go to waste.