CARD KING Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) earmarks the bookings value for Albania’s contest with Switzerland on Saturday.
Albania v Switzerland | Saturday 14.00 | BBC1
Albania make their major tournament debut against Switzerland in Group A on Saturday, with brothers Taulant and Granit Xhaka playing on opposite sides in Lens.
Albania have yet to win in six internationals against Switzerland (W0-D1-L5) with teams most recent encounters taking place in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Gianni De Biasi’s Albania were beaten 2-0 in Lucerne and 2-1 in Tirana to a Swiss side led by Ottmar Hitzfeld at the time. Xherdan Shaqiri, who has Kosovar-Albanian roots, scored for Switzerland in both matches.
Spaniard Carlos Velasco Carballo is in charge of this one. He averaged a surprisingly low 3.67 cards-per-game during qualification.
Albania averaged 2.60 cards-per-game en-route whilst the Swiss saw just 1.10 cards-per-game in a weak group that England won convincingly.
The general quotes here are Under/Over 4.5 Cards. Indeed the last two encounters between these two countries featured five cards in each. However, I’m recommending a different angle…
I’ve said many times this season in this column that Carballo likes to book someone early on. This is the complete opposite to most other referees.
This is evidenced by the fact that he typically gives a card before the 27th minute of La Liga games. The quote here is before or after the 29th minute – above his season average.
This may be Carballo’s last tournament before retiring but a leopard rarely changes its spots and I’m backing a card to be shown ‘before 29.00’ with Bet365 at 5/6.
Albania v Switzerland – A card to be shown before 29.00 (5/6 Bet365)