Albania Looking To Upset Dominant Spain

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Albania Looking To Upset Dominant Spain

Albania will aim to keep their Euro 2024 dream alive when they take on Spain at Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf on Monday. The Albanians were a little unfortunate to lose 2-1 to Italy in their opener, and they then battled to an impressive 2-2 draw with Croatia on Matchday 2. They have exceeded expectations at this tournament, but they will be eliminated if they lose to Spain in their final group stage game.

Spain began their Euro 2024 campaign with a 3-0 victory over Croatia, courtesy of goals from Álvaro Morata, Fábian Ruiz, and Dani Carvajal. La Roja then faced Italy on Thursday evening, and they earned a deserved 1-0 win. They dominated the Azzurri, and they really should have won by a larger margin. Yet they are now assured of a place in the Round of 16, so manager Luis de la Fuente may take the opportunity to rest a few key players on Monday.

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Albania might have to tighten their defense to win

The Albanians have looked dangerous in attack at this tournament. They have scored three goals in two games so far, and they found it easy to create chances against Croatia. Albania’s forwards always pose a threat on the counterattack, and their finishing has been pretty sharp.

However, they have struggled in defense. Albania only conceded 0.5 goals per game during qualifying, but that has increased to 2 goals per game at the Euros, as they are now coming up against stronger opponents. They face their sternest test yet on Monday, as they will need to find a way to contain Lamine Yamal, Álvaro Morata, and Nico Williams. Albania’s defenders have struggled to deal with crosses into the box, so they will need to improve in that department.

Spain’s path to victory likely includes reserve forwards

This game could provide Spain’s backup forwards to show the manager what they are capable of. Nico Williams, Álvaro Morata, and Lamine Yamal have started in both of Spain’s games so far, but Luis de la Fuente now has the luxury of giving them a breather.

La Roja have lots of other talented attackers in their squad, including Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, Joselu, Dani Olmo, and Ayoze Pérez. They have been restricted to cameo appearances so far, but they may get the opportunity to play from the start against Albania. Those players will be keen to prove their worth, so they could inspire Spain to victory.

Albania expected starting 11

Albania play with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Thomas Strakosha is the first-choice goalkeeper, while Mario Mitaj, captain Berat Gjimshiti, Arlind Ajeti, and Elseid Hysaj form the back-four. Kristjan Asllani and Ylber Ramadani will start in midfield.

In Albania’s opener against Italy, manager Sylvinho started Taulant Seferi, Nedim Bajrami, and Jasir Asani behind striker Armando Broja in attack. However, he made a few changes for the Croatia game. Bajrami shifted out to the left of the attack, with Qazim Laçi playing in the No. 10 role, Seferi on the right, and Rey Manaj up front. Laçi scored against Croatia, so he could keep his place in the team, but it remains to be seen if Manaj or Broja will spearhead the attack.

Spain expected starting 11

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente is likely to shuffle his pack, as La Roja have already qualified for the knockout stage of the competition. Unai Simon has started both games so far, and he may keep his place in goal, but David Raya might alternatively be given a run out.

Dani Carvajal and Marc Cucurella have started both games at full-back, so they may be given a breather. If so, Álex Grimaldo and Jesus Navas are available to deputize. Robin Le Normand partnered Nacho in defense against Croatia, and he started alongside Aymeric Laporte against Italy. Two of those three players should start at center-back.

Holding midfielder Rodri is suspended for this game after picking up two yellow cards, so Martín Zubimendi could take his place. Mikel Merino may also start if the manager decides to rest either Pedri or Fábian Ruiz. Nico Williams, Álvaro Morata, and Lamine Yamal have started both games in attack so far, so it might be time to hand the likes of Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, and Ayoze Pérez a chance from the start against Albania.