20.00 Romania v Albania (Group A)
Probably not one for the neutral, this. These teams have one point between them after four games played and a draw in this tie will see Albania finish bottom and seriously undermine the hopes Romania have of finishing in one of the runners-up spots.
Whatever happens to them, Albania will probably feel aggrieved to be without a point given their performances so far. Their ten men were narrowly beaten by Switzerland in their opening game and then performed gallantly in round 2 until conceding late to hosts, France. It will be of no comfort to them but should they be bow out following this game, they can be proud of their performances.
Romania impressed in defeat to France in the tournaments opening game but faltered to some degree in their round 2 tie against Switzerland. They ceded a lot of possession and committed two dozen fouls, indicating the defensive and scrappy nature of their play.
It may be too late in the day for them but Albania might just make the most of this opportunity and get the win. The match is unlikely to flow freely or be all that easy on the eye but Albania have played with a lot of heart and no little technical ability. Those traits might be enough to get them past a game but limited Romania. Best price for that outcome is 12/5 from Bet365 amongst a host of others.
20.00 Switzerland v France (Group A)
Switzerland may have suspected that second place in the group was theirs to lose and lose it they might should they lose this game and Romania beat Albania in the groups other game. Given that they already have four points to their name, qualification should be assured but as a third placed team which potentially means a tougher draw in the knock-out stages. A point from this game would do them just nicely.
A look at the group table will show that the hosts sit top with maximum points – they couldn’t ask for anything more. Except that they will have to. Both wins were secured by way of some late goals and both matches indicated a hesitancy and potentially a lack of leadership & experience in key areas, issues that need to be seriously addressed if France harbor any realistic hopes of lifting the trophy.
France coach, Didier Deschamps, made some big changes to the starting line-up and formation for round 2 and it remains to be seen whether the team that finished that game will begin this. One thing that can be said with a huge degree of certainty is that Dimitri Payet has, for the big matches anyway, made himself undroppable; the (current) West Ham man is rapidly becoming a national hero thanks to his wonderful creativity and winning goals.
Will he do it again? Certainly if he’s started he might but the manager might decide to rest him in this tie. Benched or not, this is an important match for France as Switzerland are arguably the toughest team they have yet to face. Although one set of results might see Switzerland finish third, a win would also see them finish top. They haven’t shown enough to convince that they can do it here but equally, France have not been altogether convincing. Giev some thought to the draw but the hosts might do enough to sneak the win. Again. Best price for a France win comes from BetFred at 20/21.