Our football match prediction:
Following a goalless draw with Germany in a friendly, Italy will be looking to record their third consecutive win in the World Cup qualifiers. The Azzurri defeated the likes of Macedonia and Liechtenstein in previous two qualifying games and they are regarded as hot favourites to win Friday’s football game against Albania. Giampiero Ventura’s men aim to get their job done in Group G as soon as possible and the hosts are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach against Giovanni de Biasi’ troops. The Albanians participated at Euro 2016 and they are determined to book their place at the showpiece tournament in Russia as well. However, considering that they head into the match against Italy following back-to-back defeats to the likes of Spain and Israel, we predict that the hosts will extend their winning run in Group G. Ciro Immobile has found his goal-scoring touch in the WC qualifiers and he is likely to prove a handful for the opposition defenders.
Highlighted Player (Marco Verratti):
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is the creative force of the French champions and a world-class professional even though he is only 23. Deemed one of the most talented Italian players of the new generation, Marco Verratti began his career in Pescara, his home town club, from which he was directly transferred to PSG much to surprise of the general football community. Technically gifted playmaker was snapped by Les Parisiens in 2012 in front of Napoli, Roma and Juventus in a five-year deal worth €12 million. Marco Verratti has since gone to become a key member for the French champions already surpassing the 100-game mark for PSG. The 23-year-old playmaker is a player of great vision and awareness, very calm and composed on the ball. His passing skills are impressive often compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo’s. Despite his diminutive figure Marco Verratti is not afraid to get in duels and participate in defence duties which make him an all-rounder and great influence in every segment of the play.
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.