France will hope to beat Albania in their second Group A match at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille tonight as they continue their quest to win the Euro 2016 on home soil.
The Les Bleus defeated Romania 2-1 in the opening match of the competition but not many were impressed with their patchy performance as they showed vulnerability at the back at their front men not being as sharp as expected with Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann picked out for criticisms by the local press.
However, one man that turned-up was West Ham United’s midfielder Dimitri Payet who created the first goal before scoring the winning with a minute to the end of the pulsating encounter.
Albania lost their opening game to Switzerland but they were no pushovers as they dogged in for long periods despite Captain Lorik Cana seeing red in the first half of the encounter.
Albania will play France without fear having not lost in the two recent matches against the Euro 2016 hosts, beating them 1-0 last year and drawing 1-1 November 14, 2014.
Didier Deschamps (France)
“We’d like to be neater and tidier, get forward quicker from one phase to another. As we saw, Romania pressed us very well and we struggled to find the gaps so the quicker we can shift the ball the better it will be.
“Albania are a very well-organised side as they have an Italian coach [Gianni De Biasi] who has done an excellent job. They defend well but don’t just settle on defence, they break very quickly and work very hard.
“They have good attacking players who can cause sides problems and they created a number of chances in the first game.”
Gianni De Biasi (Albania)
“Against France, we will try to limit their play as much as possible and then break when we get the chance.
“We will try to make as few mistakes as possible as ultimately you can be made to pay dear from a defensive and attacking perspective.”
“I don’t think they will [underestimate us], because I think we are well known now. We played against them twice, in November 2014 and June last year, I think they know us pretty well.
“They won’t underestimate us and will go on the pitch with great determination as they will face a team that will make the most of anything they give us.”
Prediction: France 3-0 Albania