Bouches-du-Rhône: Albania coach Gianni De Biasi feels his underdogs could score against France in Marseille on Wednesday to get his team`s Euro 2016 prospects back on track.
After defeat in the Group A opener against Switzerland, Albania need to at least avoid defeat tomorrow to keep their hopes alive of progressing to the knockout stages.
"We played well against the Swiss, got in on goal three times, we created chances," the 59-year-old Italian told media on Tuesday at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.
"Statistics show that we will hit the back of the net, and that could happen in 24 hours` time," he said.
But Didier Deschamp`s men, despite a possible rotation in team selection, are expected to move up a gear from their faltering win against Romania on the tournament`s opening day thanks to Dimitri Payet`s late winner.
De Biasi conceded there is a chance his team could face `Les Bleus` at full throttle, relieved of the weight of expectation that appeared to hold them back in Paris.
"In terms of quality they are one of the best in the world, and being the home nation everything is going their way, they are obviously odds-on favourite against us," he said.
Albania`s tournament debut started ominously when captain Lorik Cana, called the "heart" of the team by De Biasi, was shown the first red card of the competition in the 1-0 loss to the Swiss in Lens on Saturday.
"For the best part of an hour, we held firm against a side with a much bigger FIFA ranking than us, but they really struggled against us," the Italian said.
De Biasi`s side play a well-drilled Italian-style counter-attacking game, often `parking the bus` to stifle the opposition, a tactic which rarely leads to more than a single goal conceded.
Asked if Albania might adopt the high-pressing strategy that almost earned Romania a point in Paris, De Biasi hinted his team will stick with Plan A.
"We`ve already consolidated our style of play over the last two years, defending in an organised fashion and trying to break as much as possible," he said.
Unbeaten in their last four competitive games in Marseille, France`s recent record against Albania gives some hope for the Balkan team.
Two friendlies last year saw a draw in Rennes, and a 1-0 win for De Biasi`s men in Albania thanks to a goal from Greek side PAOK`s midfielder Ergys Kace.
The Italian cautioned though that France have fine-tuned their attack since then as well as brought in new talent.
"Kingsley Coman has skyrocketed in his ability, while N`Golo Kante has been a real surprise as he has been incredible in the Premier League," he said.
"They know us pretty well, they won`t underestimate us, they know we are a side that tries to make the most of any team that takes us lightly".
Experienced defender Ansi Agolli, capped 64 times, has been handed the captain`s armband as ex-Marseille player Cana misses this game through suspension.
"Every Albanian dreams of captaining his country, I couldn`t sleep properly when I heard the coach`s decision," said the 33-year-old who plays for Qarabag.
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