Albania can qualify for the European Championships for the first time in the nation’s history if they can manage to pull out a win in Armenia on Sunday, October 11. The runner-up spot in Group I is on the line in this contest and Albania controls their own destiny for automatic qualification to next year’s Euro 2016 tournament in France. Denmark currently sits in second place with a point lead over Albania, but since this is just a five-team group the Danes have already played their eight qualifying matches.
- bet365 currently lists Albania at 11/5 with Armenia at 9/4 and a draw at 5/4
Portugal has locked up first place with their 1-0 win over Denmark on Thursday while Albania blew a huge opportunity to climb into second place with a 2-0 loss at home to Serbia. Portugal tops the group with 18 points followed by Denmark with 12. Albania has 11 points from three wins, two draws and two losses with seven goals scored and five allowed. Serbia is in fourth place with four points while Armenia owns last place with just two. Armenia enters the game with two draws and five defeats in their qualifiers with five goals scored and 11 conceded.
Albania is guaranteed a playoff spot even if they lose this game in Yerevan. However, they will overtake Denmark with a win. A draw won’t do them any good since Denmark has a better head-to-head record against the Albanians and would qualify automatically as second-place finishers.
Armenia vs Albania Head to Head record
Albania managed to beat Armenia 2-1 at home back in March thanks to late goals by Shkelzen Gashi and Mergim Mavraj. Armenia had a man sent off with a red card and played the final 20 minutes with just 10 men. The two sides have met just four times in the past with Albania winning two of them, losing one and drawing one. The squads have met once before in Yerevan with Albania taking all three points in a 3-0 victory in a 1998 World Cup qualifying encounter. Armenia hasn’t won at home in Group I qualifying with a loss and two draws.
Albania hasn’t allowed a goal against in their past four competitive outings on the road with two wins and two draws. However, they were awarded a 3-0 win in Serbia when the game was abandoned due to crowd trouble. This is another game which means the world to one team and nothing to the other. Albania has no choice but to go for a win if they want to qualify for Euro 2016 through the front door.
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By Ian Palmer