Should defending champions Spain finish in the top two of their group — they top Group C along with their opponents on Monday Croatia on four points — they will play one of the top two from Group D in the quarter-finals.
Italy trail the Spanish and the Croats by two points but even if they beat the pointless Irish they would miss out if Spain and Croatia end up drawing 2-2.
At present France and England are the top two in their group, with both on four points one ahead of co-hosts Ukraine while Sweden are out of contention after two defeats.
However, 26-year-old Albiol said from what he had seen of France’s 2-0 win over Ukraine and then England’s thrilling 3-2 victory over Sweden on Friday he knew which team he would prefer to face in the last eight. “France played really well against Ukraine. They are one of the teams who for me are among the favourites,” said the Real Madrid star.
His teammate Alvaro Negredo agreed with him: “I think that France is a little stronger (than Ukraine and England). France has more quality to my mind,” said the Sevilla marksman.