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EC Qualification

  • September 2, 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • Stadiumi Kombëtar Qemal Stafa, Tiranë (Tirana)
  • Referee: A. Nikolaev
  • • Attendance: 15600
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Euro 2012 Qualifier Preview: Albania - France

Euro 2012 Qualifier Preview: Albania - France

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Laurent Blanc's men travel to Tirana to face Josip Koze's side and securing three points would represent a huge step into securing a place in Poland/Ukraine next year


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Albania: Beqaj; Vangjeli, Lila, Curri, Dalku; Bulku, Cana, Lala, Hyka; Bogdani, Kapllani  

Albania

Albania boss Josip Koze has former Marseille captain Lorik Cana in the side, with joint top scorer Erjon Bogdani also looking to shock the Group D leaders. The side will be looking to build on August's 3-2 win over Montenegro.

France (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Sagna, Abidal, Kaboul, Evra; M’Vila, Nasri; Malouda, Martin, Ribery; Benzema

Romania


France boss Laurent Blanc faces a selection headache, especially in defence. PSG starlet Mamadou Sakho is injured and misses out altogether and Adil Rami is suspended for the tie in Albania. Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny has also picked up a back strain and is doubtful to start, with the pairing of Barcelona's Eric Abidal and Tottenham's Younes Kaboul expected to play in front of Hugo Lloris.

Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena and Bayern's Franck Ribery have been recalled to the side after they missed last month's friendly against Chile. Kevin Gameiro, who has four goals for PSG already this season could also feature up front. Marvin Martin's Les Bleus participation is expected to continue in the playmaker role after injuries to Yoann Gourcuff as well as Abou Diaby in midfield.




DID YOU KNOW?
  • Albania beat Montenegro 3-2 in the August round of friendly internationals. In June, they were beaten by Argentina 4-0.
  • Josip Kuze's men, ranked 50th in the world are fourth in Group D, five points behind France and four behind Belarus in second.
  • The Eastern Europeans have played in only one European Championships in 1962.
  • At the age of 34, Erjon Bogdani is the joint leading scorer with the national team, netting 14 times in 60 appearances.
  • France are Group D leaders with 13 points, and can take a huge step in claiming a Euro 2012 place with victory in Albania on Friday evening.
  • Les Bleus are unbeaten since succumbing to a surprise 1-0 defeat to Belarus almost a year ago.
  • Laurent Blanc's men were held to a 1-1 draw with Chile in Montpellier in August. Loic Remy grabbed the goal for Europeans.
  • The two nations have met only twice before. In European Championship qualifying for the 1992 tournament, Les Bleus recorded a resounding 5-0 home win, before winning 1-0 in the return game.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
European Championship ‎(EC)‎ Oct 7, 2011 France 3 - Albania 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
European Championship ‎(EC)‎ Sep 2, 2011 Albania 1 - France 2
  • Player Ratings
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Lorik Cana
Lorik Cana
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 5
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
France fans will know all about Lorik Cana after the Albanian midfielder was a lynchpin and captain of Marseille a few seasons ago. A tough midfielder, who has the command of the park, Les Bleus will have to keep wary when playing narrow. Cana, now at Lazio, is expected to play a big part in Friday's encounter, having been earmarked as the nation's best player of recent times.
Samir Nasri
Samir Nasri
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Nasri's might've had a tough few weeks after his controversial €28.2 million deal from Arsenal, but the 24 year old showed flashes of his undoubted brilliance in his new club's 5-1 thrashing of Tottenham at the weekend. Expected to link play and create chances for Benzema in Tirana on Friday evening, the Albanians will have to be wary of his flexibility and fantastic dribbling ability.
Prediction
No disrespect to the Eastern Europeans, but this is a match France really should be winning. The national team has come a long way since last summer's spectacular implosion at the World Cup. With certain players such as Benzema coming good for Laurent Blanc, a comfortable win looks to be the most likely outcome.
Editor's Prediction
France 3

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