Romania back in Lyon for Albania reckoning
Friday, 1 January 2016
Lyon proved to be a happy hunting ground for Romania at the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals and they will hope for another positive result in the city against Albania.
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Romania have fond memories of Lyon as they prepare to take on Albania for the 17th time, with the latter hoping for a first victory since 1948 against the team they have played more than any other.
• Albania have faced Romania on 16 occasions – more than any other nation – with the record W2 D4 L10. However, they have not won in the sides' last 13 meetings, since their third encounter in May 1948.
• Romania have yet to lose in eight competitive meetings with Albania (W6 D2 L0). Romania won the countries' first six competitive games until qualifying for UEFA EURO 2012, when the teams twice drew 1-1.
• Experienced Romania left-back Răzvan Raţ scored the only goal when the sides last met, in Yverdon, Switzerland, in a friendly in May 2014. Gianni De Biasi was Albania coach in that match.
EURO facts – Romania
• In their only previous fixture in Lyon, Anghel Iordănescu's Romania defeated Colombia 1-0 in their 1998 FIFA World Cup opener. Viorel Moldovan, now Romania's assistant coach, played in that game, with Adrian Ilie scoring the stylish winning goal.
• Romania failed to win at their most recent final tournament, UEFA EURO 2008 (D2 L1), scoring only once in the process.
• Romania boasted the best defensive record in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, conceding just twice in their ten games and making it to the finals unbeaten (W5 D5).
EURO facts – Albania
• Albania are one of two sides, along with Iceland, making their major tournament debut at UEFA EURO 2016.
• Albania's record in qualifying was W4 D2 L2.
• This game is taking place three days after De Biasi's 60th birthday.
Coach and player links
• Play together:
Vlad Chiriches (Romania) and Elseid Hysaj (Albania) – Napoli
• Have played together:
Răzvan Raţ (Romania) and Ergys Kaçe (Albania) – PAOK, 2014–15
Bogdan Stancu (Romania) and Lorik Cana (Albania) – Galatasaray, 2010–11
• Gabriel Torje made his senior international debut in a 1-1 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying draw against Albania on 3 September 2010. Stancu's goal in that game was his first for Romania.