How the Bookies See it
- Match Winner: France 1/4, Draw 9/2, Albania 14/1 - William Hill
- First Goalscorer: Olivier Giroud 15/4, Antoine Griezmann 10/3, Andre-Pierre Gignac 9/2 - Bet365
- Correct Score: France 2-0 - 19/4, France 1-0 - 11/2, France 3-0 - 7/1 - BetVictor
- France’s clash with Romania was their first competitive game since the 2014 World Cup and they got off to a winning start thanks to Dimitri Payet’s stunning late goal. They had also won four friendlies in a row coming into the tournament.
- Albania’s opening match of Euro 2016 ended in a narrow loss and their friendly results in 2016 have not overly impressive either. There have been victories over minnows Luxembourg and Qatar, but also defeats by Austria and Ukraine.
- Albania beat France 1-0 when the two teams met in a friendly match last June, having also managed to draw with them 1-1 the previous November.
As the home team and tournament favourites, it is no surprise that the bookies are heavily tipping France to come out on top in this one. A case could be made for Albania to get something from the game, based on France’s underwhelming performance in beating Romania and Albania’s own decent display against Switzerland when they had a man sent off but still created plenty of chances and only just lost. Most intriguing of all, perhaps, are the two strong results they have had against France in the past two years.
However, Wednesday’s match at the Stade Velodrome is on an entirely different scale to a couple of friendlies, and France are likely to play with far greater freedom after getting that opening win under their belt. Payet was at his dazzling best against Romania and has the potential to be the player of the tournament, while Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud also silenced some of his critics with an important goal.
A 31/10 flutter on Draw/France in BetVictor’s Half-Time/Full-Time market looks tempting as Albania could very well make life uncomfortable for France early on before eventually being broken down, while the goalscorer markets are also a good option. Anthony Martial may be the kind of player who Deschamps looks to bring on in the second half when the game is opening up, and can be backed at 17/11 with 888Sport to score at any time, while it would not be a surprise to see Payet emerge as the star of the show yet again.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Dimitri Payet to score and France to win - 15/8 at Paddy Power
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