So, we move on to the 'other' game in Group A between Romania v Albania. Both of these teams haven't exactly set the competition alight with no goals from open play between them. Romania will feel slightly better than their Albanian counterparts because they have scored 2 in 2 and have a point on the board, however both of these goals have been penalties - surely they can't go through the entire competition just winning and scoring penalties.
Romania gave France a decent game in their first fixture and managed to hold the Swiss to a draw in their second but they haven't exactly provided stern competition for either of those 2 teams. Switzerland drew with them because they didn't have the quality to see them off. Romania can win this game but they will need to get past what has been an excellent Albanian defence and I can't see that happening.
Albania on the other hand, I would say have been quite unlucky this tournament and have paid for the profligacy in front of goal. They didn't score a lot in qualifying and I highlighted this before the tournament and its cost them. They have had clear cut chances in both games so far and haven't managed to put away a single one. Their defence and goalkeeper are superb and the goals they have conceded have been from a defensive error and 2 in the 90th minute but that's top level football for you which they're clearly not cut out for unfortunately.
Calling this game is so difficult because either one could win it and it could be end to end or it could fizzle out and be the worst game, quality wise, the competition has seen so far. Romania will be thinking that they can qualify with a win so they might throw the gauntlet down and go for it. I personally hope they do so I don't have to sleep through the entire game.
Neither side concede many goals, but they don't score many either. I think this has draw written all over it. Who is going to separate the 2 sides? They are both defensively sound and playing against mediocre front lines and both will fancy the clean sheet. If the game opens up later on with Romania chasing a winner, I think that's you're only chance of a goal or, as its Romania, a penalty could be scored.
It's happened in Romania's previous 2 games; why don't we go for the hat trick? Stranger things have happened in football and Bogdan Stancu clearly knows how to put them away when presented with the opportunity. If I don't stick a couple of quid on this and it happens ill kick myself.
I don't like making negative predictions like this but I honestly don't know who is going to score! Chiriches in the heart of the Romanian defence should be able to deal with Sadiku up top for Albania and Stancu needs to be alone in the box, 12 yards out with nobody else around him to score. Albania are known for their mean defence so I can't see Romania tearing it up and scoring a well worked goal. I can see a goal coming from a set piece if it actually does. 0-0 for me to send both of these teams packing.
I can see this game being 0-0 at half time with the pundits desperately searching for highlights and talking about other games that have happened or are going to happen. Then doing the same at full time, neither of these 2 teams have the desired quality to be in the competition and by the end of this game I don't think they will be.
I have obviously gone for the 0-0 so my 'first goal scorer' bet would be no goal scorer but if you're asking me to assume that you haven't gone for my prediction and you believe that there will be goals or a goal then I think Bogdan Stancu will score it. He's the most experienced and prolific goal scorer on the pitch for either side and he has 2 already in the competition which, despite being penalties, I'm sure will give him some confidence going into the game. So at a push I will say Stancu will score, if a goal is actually scored.
These 2 teams struggle for goals and as I said before neither has scored from open play yet. This bet has quite high odds so just a couple of quid could give you some nice profit.