Portugal vs Albania Prediction - Is This The Start Of A New Era For The Portuguese Team?

Joel Amorim Sep 2, 2014 No Comment 82,622 views
European Qualifiers 2016 Betting
Portugal
Portugal
vs Albania
Albania
ScheduleSunday, 7 September 2014 at 19:45 GMT / 20:45 UK / 01:15 IST
VenueEstádio Municipal de Aveiro (Aveiro - Portugal)

Next Sunday, 7th of September 2014, a somewhat fragilized Portuguese team will entertain Albania at the Estádio Municipal de Aveiro for both sides’ opening match at the Euro 2016 Qualifying round.

Will João Moutinho be able to lead his team in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo?
Will João Moutinho be able to lead his team in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo?

After a miserable stint at the World Cup, Portugal will now embark on another fairly complicated journey that will hopefully lead the team to the 2016 European Championship to take place in France. Along the way, the Portuguese National Team will have to measure forces with Albania, Denmark, Armenia and Serbia, all of them strong and decently organized teams that will surely cause Paulo Bento’s boys plenty of trouble.

Without Cristiano Ronaldo, who Paulo Bento decided not to include in the group of players he has chosen to face Albania due to his alleged recent physical problems, it will be interesting to see how will Portugal react to the absence of their most important footballer. The Portuguese coach, who is not particularly known for adopting new strategies or imprinting major changes to his own personal style, was forced to bring in several new players to mitigate the absence of some of his usual “wingmen”, such as Helder Postiga, Bruno Alves and Hugo Almeida, who are not part of the team that will play against Albania on Sunday.

The “new blood” that Bento was forced to inject into the team will certainly benefit Portugal in the long run. Players such as Adrien Silva, Ruben Vezo, Ricardo Horta and Bruma are all part of two consecutive generations of footballers that will now have their opportunity to shine at the Portuguese team and they will certainly become key elements of the squad in the near future.

As for Albania, the Balkans team are far from being the punching bag they were in the past, as they are building a fairly consistent side that takes conscious advantage from their new generation of talented footballers, the majority of them playing outside their home country. The arrival of the Italian manager Gianni De Biasi marked the start of something new and promising for the country’s football. De Biasi joined Albania in December 2011 and brought along an ambitious project that aims to achieve the full potential of that nation’s talented footballers.

For the match against Portugal, De Biasi will not be able to count on the contribution of some recent call-ups, such as the FC Zürich’s forward Armando Sadiku and the Torino’s midfielder Migjen Basha, both sidelined due to injury.

The last time both teams went head-to-head on Portuguese soil was back in 2008 for a World Cup Qualifier that ended in a boring goalless draw. For the next Sunday’s match, despite the absence of Ronaldo, Portugal are to be considered favourites but they will need to be on their toes if they don’t want to suffer a major home upset at the hand of a hard working Albanian team.

Portugal

Stats: W-3 L-1 D-1

Recent Form - WDLWW

Albania

Stats: W-2 L-2 D-1

Recent Form - WLLWD

Possible Line-ups

Portugal (4-3-3) – Rui Patricio - André Almeida - Pepe - Ruben Vezo - Antunes - William Carvalho - João Moutinho - André Gomes - Nani - Vieirinha - Éder

Albania  (4-3-3) – Berisha - Mavraj - Lila - Hysaj - Aliti - Abrashi - Gashi - Vila - Vajushi - Kukeli - Salihi

Sunday, 7th of September 2014 20h45 CET (19h45 GMT)
Estádio Municipal de Aveiro (Aveiro - Portugal)

Prediction

Portugal 1 Albania 1

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