Albania vs. France: Team News, Predicted Lineups, Preview and More – Bleacher Report

A friendly encounter with Albania on Saturday evening gives Didier Deschamps’ France a chance to move past their 4-3 home humbling at the hands of Belgium last Sunday.
While the rest of Europe is concerned with Euro 2016 qualification, the tournament hosts will look to get their own preparations underway and will be seeking drastic improvements in Elbasan.
Read on for the match preview of France’s trip to central Albania, including team news, predicted line-ups and a look at which players will be worth keeping an eye on.
Date: Saturday, June 13
Time: 5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET
Venue: Elbasan Arena, Elbasan
Live Stream: 
TV Info:
Having been preoccupied with the small matter of a Champions League final last weekend, the Juventus pair of Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra will most likely return to Deschamps’ starting XI for the visit to Albania.
The France coach effectively confirmed his selection last month, when he was quoted by Goal’s Christopher Devine as saying the duo would be raring to go after the European final:
No, it wasn’t a tough decision at all to pick Pogba and Evra, the decision was clear. It is true they will play the Champions League final the day before we play Belgium, but as I already said many times, I consider the French national team above all other things. They will come and join us with a great deal of pleasure and joy to be part of the second game against Albania.
The loss to Belgium will only have increased Deschamps’ desire to field a strong line-up and give French fans a result, with Pogba and Evra each bringing improvements to midfield and defence, respectively.
One man who won’t be featuring for Les Bleus, however, is Olivier Giroud, who Ben Dinnery of ESPN FC says has returned to Arsenal for treatment after leaving international duty on crutches:
Giroud has suffered a calf injury while training with #FRA he is likely to return to #AFC for tests after leaving the session on crutches
That would leave the door open for one of Alexandre Lacazette or perhaps even Paul-Georges Ntep to take the starting berth on Saturday.
Albania will look to captain Lorik Cana as their rock in central defence, but manager Gianni De Biasi will be without the talent of Cologne’s Mergim Mavraj, who is injured for the tie.
Albania are also missing the likes of Ansi Agolli, Taulant Xhaka, Shkelzen Gashi and Alban Meha, each contending against injury issues of their own.
Albania (4-4-1-1)
Etrit Berisha; Andi Lila, Elseid Hysaj, Lorik Cana, Arlind Ajeti; Ergys Kace, Sabien Lilaj, Odise Roshi, Ledian Memushaj; Bekim Balaj; Sokol Cikalleshi
France (4-3-3)
Hugo Lloris; Christophe Jallet, Patrice Evra, Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho; Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Geoffrey Kondogbia; Antoine Griezmann, Nabil Fekir, Alexandre Lacazette

Thanks to the absences of Giroud and Karim Benzema, Lacazette will likely be given his chance to start against Albania after a rampant season that saw him lead Lyon to second place in Ligue 1.
The 24-year-old has earned a lot of attention in the transfer market after netting 27 goals in 31 league appearances, but Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Johnson doesn’t see the striker moving:
@S_Sidiropoulos Lacazette going nowhere for the moment & I do not expect to see him move this summer.
Pogba will also court his share of attention upon making his return to the international setup, having missed the 4-3 defeat to Belgium in what was a key absence for Deschamps.
The 3-1 loss to Barcelona in last Saturday’s Champions League final will undoubtedly have given the midfielder more motivation to impress, and Albania provide the Juve star with ample opportunity to do so.
Lorik Cana vs. Antoine Griezmann

One player establishing himself as a talisman for club and country of late is Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, whose worth as an attacking spearhead went through huge metamorphosis this past year.
Albania captain Cana bears a weighty burden in ensuring Les Bleus’ forward line is held at bay, but Lazio stalwart is now 31 years of age and speed is an attribute Griezmann possesses in great quantity.
Keeping up with the Frenchman may prove tricky for the former Sunderland hard man, but seeing Cana keep his discipline and stand up to the coming onslaught will be crucial in encouraging the rest of his players to follow suit.
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