THE hosts France return to the ring on Wednesday night and our bookings man Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) tells us what he’s backing.
France v Albania | Wednesday 20:00 | ITV1
France have not lost in their last four competitive games in Marseille, but the UEFA EURO 2016 hosts know from recent experience that Group A opponents Albania are not a side to be underestimated.
Albania got the better of France in the two centralised friendlies played in conjunction with the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying competition. They drew the first encounter 1-1 in Rennes before winning 1-0 at home in Elbasan thanks to a goal from Ergys Kaçe. France had won the four previous meetings – all UEFA European Championship qualifiers – with a goal difference of +10.
Albania had their captain Lorik Cana sent off in their group opener against Switzerland and so he misses out here.
I’ve looked at the past four encounters between these two countries and the Albanians have collected the most cards, in every match, by an aggregate of 11 to 3.
Scottish whisteblower Wee Willie Collum makes his competition debut and he averaged 5.4 cards per game in the qualification phase which was the highest of all the officials.
Interestingly, little Willie has officiated the hosts twice and is yet to show them a card. In contrast, in his only game covering Albania he showed them six yellows!
I can’t see Collum booking too many French players in a game that they will probably run away with. I want to take on Albania given the historical stats. I’m backing Albania -1 at 10/11 with Bet365. Basically Albania need to have two or more cards than France for us to win.
France v Albania – Albania -1 Bookings (10/11 Bet365)