Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Friday’s football game at Stadion Dinamo pits together Belarus and Albania. Belarus aim to make amends for the unsuccessful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, and we are positive that the hosts will leave their hearts on the field. Belarus proved their worth in back-to-back friendly wins over Uzbekistan and Bulgaria in February, and they are surely capable of matching Albania at home ground. Mikhail Markhel’s troops aim to prepare in the best way possible for the Euro 2020 playoffs semis, but, no doubt, the hosts should be happy with one point from the match.
The Albanians, on the other hand, did well to take part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but they failed to impress in the European Championship qualifiers. Anyhow, we believe that Edoardo Reja’s men are capable of holding Belarus to a draw behind closed doors. When the two teams met in a friendly seven years ago they played out a goalless draw.
Highlighted Player (Egor Filipenko):
Egor Filipenko is a Maccabi Tel Aviv defender who was born in Minsk, Belarus on 10 April, 1988. He began his senior career at BATE Borisov, but his main goal was to join Russian Premier League. His wish came true in 2008 as he signed a contract with Russian giants Spartak Moscow.
After playing 16 league games for the capital club, he returned to BATE Borisov in 2011 on loan and he eventually signed a permanent deal with the Belarusian outfit. On 5 January, 2015 Filipenko joined la Liga side Malaga on a two-and-a-half-year deal, but he made no more than eight league appearances with los Boquerones. In the summer of 2016 the Belarusian footballer moved to Israel, signing a contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Speaking of his international career, Egor Filipenko made his Belarus debut on 12 September, 2007, coming as a substitute in a 1-0 loss to Slovenia in the Euro 2008 qualifier. His contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv expires on 30 June, 2018.
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.