Date: September 7, 2014
Venue: Estadio Municipal de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Kick off time: 19:45 BST
Portugal will face Albania in the first round of games for qualification to Euro 2016. The Portuguese side are likely to be without their talismanic skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, for this game, as the Ballon d’Or winner is sidelined with a knee injury that he picked up a couple of weeks back while playing for Real Madrid. As far as Albania are concerned, facing Portugal in the first round of qualifying games for the upcoming Euros is definitely not the ideal match to begin with. The match is expected to feature plenty of goals as the Portugal national team have an abundance of attacking talent all over the pitch.
Portugal’s form: W-W-L-D-W
While Portugal were knocked out of the world cup at the first time of asking, it would be wrong to question the quality that this side have going into the Euro qualifiers. Paolo Bento has some of the best players in Europe to choose from, although the best of them all is currently unavailable for selection thanks to injury.
There is enough talent in this team even without Ronaldo to go out and steam roll Albania on fast counter attacks alone.
Albania’s form: L-D-D-L-L
Well as you see, this run of form hardly inspires any sort of confidence at all. Albania have failed to win any of their last five matches. They have lost to the likes of Switzerland, Romani, and Hungary in that time while drawing a stalemate at Belarus as well as Cyprus.
Alarmingly, this side have failed to score in the matches mentioned here which is an even greater cause for concern. Against a team of the caliber of Portugal, they will need to find the back of the net in order to have even the minute of chances of getting anything out of the game at all.
The winger is set to start the match against Albania. Nani has had a poor start to life back in Sporting Club although he did find his touch in his second match with the Lisbon based outfit. Nani has the devastating pace and skill to outdo any opponent on his day, and with Ronaldo absent, this just might be his day.
Albania: Etrit Berisha
The 25 year old goalkeeper, who plies his trade in Serie A with Lazio, can expect a busy day in the office against Portugal. Berisha will need to be at his very best in order to stop the home team from scoring and it remains to be seen whether he can pull a rabbit out of the hat on Sunday evening.
This should be a straightforward win for Portugal against a team which isn’t winning too many games in recent times. Given the Portuguese defence struggled even in the World Cup, I will put my neck out for both teams to score in this game for which bet365 is offer 2.25.