Albania have to win against Spain to qualify for one-sixteenth

Spain outfit already confirmed as Euro 2024 Group B winners tackle an Albania side still in with a shot of last-16 qualification at the Merkur Spiel-Arena on Monday night.

Currently residing in the bronze medal position – above Croatia on goal difference – Albania will finish second if they can stun the Spaniards and Croatia beat Italy by no more than two goals at the very least, and qualifying for the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides is not beyond the realm of possibility either.

Of course, such scenarios firstly hinge on the Red and Blacks doing what neither Croatia nor Italy have been able to do at the current tournament so far – take a point off or even score against Spain – but Luis de la Fuente‘s side could be forgiven for letting their guard down slightly here.

With six points accrued, four goals scored and zero conceded, Spain have more than underlined their status as a serious contender for continental glory – even if they did fly slightly under the radar before the tournament began – having made a mockery of the so-called group of death thus far.

Furthermore, by topping Group B, De la Fuente’s side will only have to face one of the best third-placed sides from Groups A, D, E or F in their last-16 battle, although that contest could precede a mouthwatering quarter-final with hosts Germany on July 5.

For now, though, extending their applaudable winning sequence to five matches across all competitions and completing Group B with a 100% success rate is the goal for La Roja, who coincidentally have a 100% success rate against Albania, winning all eight of their previous men’s internationals.

Such is the depth in the Spain squad that De la Fuente could make changes in the double figures and still see his side run out comfortable winners in Dusseldorf, even against an Albania side with plenty more to fight for.

Sylvinho’s side have put in performances to be proud of against Italy and Croatia, but even a second-string Roja team – packed with players with points to prove, it should be noted – ought to prove too strong, as Albania prepare to bow out at the first hurdle.



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