Romania faces Albania on Sunday which should be a low scoring affair as Jake Jackman returns with a preview and his selections.
Sunday 19th June 2016 – 20:00 BST
EURO 2016 – GROUP A
ROMANIA v ALBANIA
This match won’t only interest the other sides in Group A, but nations in all the groups, as a draw will all but rule out either country managing to get a best third place slot. Both sides have put out admirable performances so far, but a lack of quality in the attacking third has prevented them from taking more points. Romania have scored two goals, both from the penalty spot, while Albania have yet to find the back of the net. They will have both earmarked this fixture as the one to win, and they both need a win to even stand a chance of qualifying for the round of 16.
Romania are a side I tipped to qualify in the Group A preview, and I still expect them to manage it after two very impressive performances. The only doubts are in front of goal and Florin Andone had a good record in the Spanish second division, but is still raw and hasn’t had a great deal of chances in front of goal. I was surprised that Nicolae Stanciu was dropped for the match against Switzerland and he is one of the few players in the squad who is capable of playing at the highest level. They have been well organised and hard to break down in the first two matches. However they will need to be more forward thinking on Sunday as they attempt to qualify.
Many expected Albania to be one of the worst sides at the tournament, but they have shown that they can compete at this level. They are excellent defensively and kept a well fancied French side quiet for 90 minutes. Their main issue, like Romania, is in the final third and Armando Sadiku, although impressive in the Swiss league, has struggled at this tournament. A side like Albania won’t create too many chances and they need to take the ones that that do come their way, at this tournament they haven’t and that is why they have no points.
Albania have only beaten Romania twice in 16 meetings, which will be a concern for them going into this match. Their last meeting during the summer of 2014 was won by Romania. I think this will be a tight fixture as both sides are very good defensively and lack the ability to create clear cut chances. This is why I’ll recommend backing under 2.5 goals for this fixture. The only doubt I have is that it will be a more open game with both sides pushing for a win, but a lack of quality in front of goal remains.
In terms of a match result, I expect Romania to beat Albania to put themselves on 4 points and that should be enough to qualify for the next round. They have better attacking players and I’d expect them to be more capable of taking the chances that come their way. I don’t expect a classic, and with both defensive line ups, under 2.5 goals is a really good bet. A single goal could win it for Romania.