Romania v Albania: Why bottom side should get off the mark

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Though Albania were one of only three nations across Groups A to E to lose each of their opening two games, you’d struggle to convincingly argue that they have been one of the three worst teams at the tournament.

The debutants have been unlucky in both matches, being punished for a fifth-minute leak and 36th-minute Lorik Cana dismissal against Switzerland despite creating great chances even with ten men and then resisting France – who were on a run of 15 goals in five fixtures – until the 90th minute.

Both of those sides possess considerably more quality than final Group A opponents Romania, meaning that 12/5 looks like a chunky price on Albania claiming their first victory of the competition.

Romania were also breached three times by the top two, emphasising that their admirable defensive figures in qualifying – two concessions in ten contests – are no longer relevant and, though they retaliated with two goals of their own, both were penalties.

In fact, if you eliminate spot kicks from the equation, the 6/5 favourites have notched just four times in their most recent seven competitive encounters, and three of those came in one showdown with the Faroe Islands.

They are winless in six Euro finals outings, stretched across the 2000, 2008 and 2016 editions, indicating that their ability to triumph on such a stage is far more uncertain than that of Albania.

Gianni De Biasi’s men have played three hours at this level, never appeared out of their depth and were edged out by two squads that went to the round-of-16 or deeper at World Cup 2014.

Romania by contrast have been to a mere one of the previous seven summer tournaments – Euro 2008 – and didn’t prevail once there, so it isn’t as if there is a gulf in class for Albania to overcome.

Don’t doubt their attacking potential either on account of the blanks against the Swiss and Les Bleus, they registered 16 attempts across those matches, and netted in each of their last seven assignments before arriving in France, including against fellow qualifiers Austria and Ukraine.

If you agree that the outsiders are worth backing, you may wish to take the meatier odds of 4/1 on the win to nil as nine of their past 11 successes came in such a fashion while, as highlighted earlier, Romania rely on penalties and weak backlines for goals, and should find neither against Albania.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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