By Ian S Palmer
Albania hosts Portugal in an important Group I Euro 2016 qualifying showdown this Monday, September 7 at the Elbasan Arena in Elbasan. There is just one point separating the two teams as they battle for the top two spots in the group and an automatic berth to next year’s European Championships in France. This is a five-team group which means they’ll just be playing eight round-robin games instead of eight. Bothe teams have a good chance of reaching Euro 2016, but one of them may have to qualify as a third-place side and go through a two-legged playoff round.
Albania vs Portugal Soccer Betting Preview
- Pinnacle lists Portugal as the current favorites at -133 with Albania +461 and a draw at +257
HEAD TO HEAD:
- Albania got their Group I campaign off to a fine start by beating Portugal on the road in their opening match last year. The Albanians were in top form that day as they pulled off a 1-0 victory with Bekim Balaj scoring the lone goal of the contest. The two nations have met each other six times in the past with Albania winning just that one contest. Portugal has won four times and the other match ended in a draw. Albania actually plays better against the Portuguese on the road with their win and draw both coming on Portuguese soil.
First place in Group I currently belongs to Portugal as they have 12 points from their games on four wins and a loss. They’ve scored seven goals along the way and have allowed four against. Denmark sits in second spot with 11 points and Albania is tied with them at three wins, two draws and a loss. However, Denmark has scored eight goals while Albania has scored seven, while allowing two against. The good news for Albania though is that they have a game in hand over the Danish squad since they’ve played just five games up to now. Serbia and Albania both share the group basement with one point each.
Albania has played two Euro 2016 qualifying matches and have a win and a draw. They also recently beat France when they met in a friendly match at the Elbasan Arena. The Albanian team is using the Elbasan Arena as their home base while work is being done on Qemal Stafa Stadium, their usual home. Portugal enters the game with five straight qualifying wins on the road and is unbeaten in six with the other being a draw. They’ve scored 16 goals during that span.
Albania dropped two big points in Denmark on Friday when they were held to a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen. They had just 42 per cent of ball possession though and were doubled up on the shot clock 16-8. Meanwhile, Portugal played a home friendly against France on Friday and came out on the wrong end of a 1-0 score in Lisbon. It was Portugal’s 10th straight loss to France. Of course, the French side doesn’t have to qualify for the Euro 2016 tournament since they’re the hosts.
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