Our prediction for this match:
Turkey and Albania, the two teams that failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, face each other at Antalya Stadium in what is expected to be a very entertaining game. The Turks should have done better in the qualifiers, but they are now fully focused on upcoming friendly games. Mircea Lucescu’s men are eager to return to winning ways at home as they suffered a heavy 3-0 loss to Iceland in their last match in front of home fans and we predict that they will emerge triumphant in Monday’s football match against Albania. Christian Panucci’s men, on the other hand, finished their World Cup qualifying campaign in third place in Group G, behind Spain and Italy and, to be honest, they were doomed to failure in such a solid group. It is well known that Albania struggle on the travels and they are likely to return home empty-handed.
Highlighted Player (Arda Turan):
Arda Turan is one of the most famous footballers in the history of Turkish football and he is widely tipped to break Rusti Recber’s record of 120 caps for Milli Takim. The attacking midfielder came to prominence at Galatasaray, while also impressing as Turkey reached the Euro 2008 semi-finals, and he immediately received offers from top European clubs to cash in on his impressive showings. However, it would take another three years before he finally decided to accept the call from Atletico Madrid, thus becoming the most expensive Turkish footballer. Turan played a key role for Diego Simeone’s side that impressed in both Spain and Europe from 2011 onwards, lifting the league trophy with los Colchoneros and narrowly missing out on the Champions League title. Achieving a superstar status in his country, Turan always performed well for the Turkey national team, making more than 90 appearances for Milli Takim before the age of 30, and scoring more than 15 goals.
Highlighted Team (Albania):
The Albanian national football team has represented the country on international stage since 1946, and it is interesting to note that Albania was one of the founding members of UEFA back in 1954. The Eagles have enjoyed very little success in the 20th century, but they managed to show some improvement at the turn of the century and eventually secured their first ever appearance at a major tournament. Albania qualified for the Euro 2016 finals as they came second in their qualifying group behind Portugal, taking 14 points from 8 matches, with Italian coach Gianni De Biasi at the helm. The Eagles have never qualified for the World Cup finals in 11 attempts, winning mere 14 of 94 World Cup qualifiers. Former Lazio defender Lorik Cana has worn the captain’s armband over the last few years and he is Albania’s most capped player, while former Chievo forward Erjon Bogdani still holds the record for most goals for the national team, with 18 strikes in 74 appearances.