Italy vs Albania by Isaiah
Italy took a convincing 4:0 victory last time out in qualifiers away to Liechtenstein, as the team showed great superiority from the first minute and sealed the three pointer already inside the first halftime. Goals were scored by Belotti twice, Immobile and Candreva, as the Italians lowered down the tempo and saved some energy later on.
After this victory, Italy remained being second with three victories and a draw, sharing the leading position with Spain, while Israel remains with a point less only with Albanians having six points so far - which means that this is surely a must win situation for the hosts. After that game, they had a friendly match at home against Germany staying to a goalless draw.
In comparison to previous squad, some well known names like defender Giorgio Chiellini (90/7, Juventus), midfielders Claudio Marchisio (54/5, Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (64/2, Milan), Thiago Motta (30/1, PSG), with midfielder Federico Bernardeschi and forward Manolo Gabbiadini pulling out from the squad in last moment.
Albania started their qualifying path well with two victories, over FYR Macedonia at home and on the road against Liechtenstein with two modest victories but still three pointers, but the team disappointed a bit in next two matches - losing in front of own fans against Spain 0:2, but also in the last round in Novemeber against Israel 0:3 also at home.
With these two defeats, Albania now already has four points less than the leading duo and will need to make a huge surprise away from home and make a "break" in order to get back into the match. Their game against Israel went completely wrong, with the hosts remaining with a man less already in 17th minute via Djimsiti who committed a penalty foul with Zahavi bringing the guests into the lead from penalty kick just a minute later. Home side stood with two men less when Berisha got red card, while the guests sealed the victory with goals from Einbinder and Atar, missing few more chances in the progress.
Goalkeeper Etrit Berisha (43/0, Atalanta) is suspended now, same as defender Berat Djimsiti (12/1, Avellino). Injured are defender Mergim Mavraj (34/3, Hamburger SV), midfielders Ermir Lenjani (24/3, Rennes), Ergys Kace (18/2, PAOK) and forward Edgar Cani (16/4, Pisa).
Everything seems pretty much obvious here. There certain individual quality that speaks for the home side, while without any doubt, Italians seem to be also in a better momentum. With two important defensive players being suspended, I don't see plenty of chances for Albanian side to remain competitive in this one.