WORLD: Friendly International
Time: 17:00 PM
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium (Cardiff)
Wales must recover quickly from a 3-0 drubbing against France on Wednesday evening, in a humbling ordeal that saw them play the majority of the match with ten men. It marked a third straight game involving them where one team won ‘to nil’ (W2, L1), whilst it also acted as Wales’ second defeat in as many suffered this calendar year where they’ve trailed by one goal at HT.
In addition to lying 49 places above 66th-ranked Albania in FIFA’s current rankings, Wales will take encouragement from their home form since the start of 2020 (W5, D1). Four of those five wins ended 1-0, with the winner coming beyond the hour mark in three of that quartet.
Without Euro 2020 to look forward to, Albania may feel compelled to play without inhibition. Yet, with eight (W4, L4) of their last 11 matches won/lost seeing the first goalscorer prevail with a clean sheet, they know that an experimental approach has its pitfalls. Two of the last three losses came courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline vs opposition currently ranked inside FIFA’s top 20.
Albania’s 1-0 friendly win vs Wales in November 2018 remains their last clean sheet overall vs a nation currently in FIFA’s top 20. Meanwhile, the visiting nation’s last clean sheet in an away friendly against opposition presently ranked 30 or better dates back more than two decades – a 2-0 victory vs Turkey in April 2001.
Players to watch: Seeing three of his four prior international strikes act as decisive openers, Daniel James remains Wales’ most recent winning goalscorer. In opposition, Rey Manaj scored the first goal in Albania’s last away win, and five of his six goalscoring internationals have each featured over 3.5 total goals.
- Wales’s form in last 5 matches: LWWLW.
- Albania’s form in last 5 matches: WLWWW.
PREDICTION: Home and Over 1.5