France v Albania: Balkans have chance to impress again

​Albania will aim to turn attentions back to their impressive on-pitch upturn as they visit Euro 2016 hosts France in a friendly on Friday.

Gianni De Biasi's men opened their Group I qualifying campaign with a stunning 1-0 win in Portugal and an impressive 1-1 draw with Denmark - who had an 81st-minute Lasse Vibe goal to thank for snatching a point.

However, they made headlines for all the wrong reasons last time out against Serbia in Belgrade - the first meeting between the two Balkan nations in the Serbian capital since 1967.

Players, coaches and fans clashed as a drone carrying a flag bearing Albanian national symbols was lowered into the Stadion Partizana in Belgrade, resulting in the game's abandonment and ultimately a 3-0 walkover win to Serbia - who subsequently had their three points deducted.

The Albanian Football Association (FhSF) have appealed a €100,000 fine, but can put the unsavoury incident to one side as they face the former World Cup and European Championship winners.

However, they will have their work cut out versus an exciting France side that looks to have only improved since their impressive run to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Following their 1-0 loss to eventual winners Germany in Brazil, France have won three of their last four games, including victories over Spain and Portugal, with a 1-1 draw with Serbia marking the only slip-up by Didier Deschamps' men.

Despite their recent good form, Deschamps does not believe France are ready to challenge for the European title yet, but feels the friendlies they have played are helping his side to make progress.

"France is now back to being a competitive team again but there’s a big difference between that and winning a title. Obviously, teams like Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are still ahead of us," Deschamps told

"We know a lot more about Portugal and Serbia. Armenia [who France beat 3-0 last month] and Albania are two teams who are both making progress. We've seen Albania win in Portugal. These matches should help us to prepare and be as competitive as possible in two years' time."

Alexandre Lacazette's recall has headlined the France squad - the Lyon man is Ligue 1's form player this term with 10 goals from just 12 appearances.

The 23-year-old was afforded a half-hour run-out against Serbia earlier this year - his third international appearance - but he is expected to feature heavily against Albania and France's fixture with Sweden four days later.

Defensive pair Kurt Zouma and Layvin Kurzawa could make their senior France debuts after late calls to the squad amid fitness concerns over Eliaquim Mangala and Loic Perrin.