Albania v Switzerland – Stade Bollaert-Delelis at 14:00 live on BBC One
It’s the second game of Group A as we see an experienced Switzerland take on debutants Albania at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Saturday.
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Albania head into their first European Championships having won two of their last five matches, and four of their last ten in all competitions.
Gianni De Biasi’s last fixture saw his team lose 3-1 at home to Ukraine in a friendly, Armando Sadiku scoring the hosts’ consolation.
Away from home, the Eagles have only lost one of their last five in all competitions, scoring eight and conceding four. On top of this, the underdogs have won five of their last ten on the road.
De Biasi’s last away game ended in a 2-0 win against Luxembourg in a friendly; Sadiku scoring once again for Albania.
The nation ranked 42nd in the world have no real injury concerns and have experience in captain Lorik Cana, who has 92 caps, and inexperience in defender Frederic Veseli who has only represented his nation three times.
In qualification the underdogs finished second in Group I behind leaders Portugal and ahead of Denmark, while beating both Portugal and Serbia. However, this is their first ever tournament having never qualified for a World Cup or European competition.
Switzerland, on the other hand, head into this match having won two of their last five, and five of their last ten in all competitions.
Vladimir Petkovic’s last fixture finishing in a 2-1 victory at home to Moldova in a friendly; Admir Mehmedi scoring the winner in Lugano.
Away from home, the Swiss have lost three of their last five, and have scored five and conceded seven. While in their last ten on the road, Petkovic’s team have only won four and lost five.
Their last away match ended in a 1-0 defeat to Republic of Ireland in a friendly; the visitors failing to leave their mark after conceding within two minutes.
Switzerland are currently ranked 15th in the world and have included the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and new Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka in the squad, as well as their most experienced player in Stephan Lichtsteiner who holds 81 caps to his name.
In qualification, Petkovic’s side were the third highest scoring team with 24 goals, and finished second in Group E behind leaders England, but it has to be mentioned they faced nations like Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino to make it to France.
This will be Switzerland’s third European tournament, yet they have never advanced further than the group stages with their last competition being in 2008, which they hosted, as they never qualified for 2012.
The last time these two sides met Switzerland won 2-1 in 2013; Xherdan Shaqiri scoring in that game. While out of their six meetings, Albania have never beaten the Swiss having only scored four goals to Switzerland’s 11.
Switzerland take this one for me. I understand that Albania are the underdogs and have nothing to lose, but the quality of Switzerland, and their experience in these competitions, will shine through. I’m expecting a good match for a fulfilled Saturday.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Switzerland -0.5 @ 1.86 with BetVictor
Prices correct at time of writing.