18 November 2019
Although they’ve already clinched a place in the next summer’s tournament, France will be looking to maintain a 100% record in the European Championship qualifying (ECQ) H2Hs with Albania when the two nations lock horns at the Arena Kombëtare this weekend.
It was ‘all or nothing’ for Albania in the opening eight ECQ fixtures, home and away (W4, L4) before a shock 2-2 home draw with Andorra last time out. After a 2-0 defeat to Turkey in their ECQ curtain-raiser, the Albanians have netted at least two goals in all three of their subsequent ECQ home matches, although conceding precisely two twice along the way. Also, the Red and Blacks have lost both of their previous competitive home H2Hs with France by a single-goal margin. For Albania, the action usually sparks into life after the break when they play at home, as ten of 14 goals scored/conceded on home turf came in the second half.
Meanwhile, the visitors have bounced back after a 2-0 away loss to Turkey, racking up a six-game unbeaten ECQ run ahead of this trip (W5, D1). Half of those triumphs (3) have seen Les Bleus score at least three goals, while three witnessed them shut out their rivals too. A 4-1 win over Moldova aside, all three of France’s subsequent ECQ road trips have seen only the winners on the day get on the scoresheet, with five of seven goals scored/conceded across those games coming in the first half. It might also be the case here, given that four of France’s six competitive triumphs against Albania witnessed them keep a clean sheet.
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