Albania have started their campaign in this year’s tournament with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland. With a 500/1 bet placed on them to win the tournament, they are not the favourites to qualify with Switzerland and France in their group.

Euro Championship Qualification & History

Albania played their last Euro Cup competition in 1962. They were one of the founding members of UEFA though till this day they have never participated in any major UEFA or FIFA tournament. UEFA Euro 2016 will be their 1st major tournament. Albania will be participating after finishing 2nd in Group I above Denmark , Serbia and Armenia with 14 points from 8 games winning 4 drawing 2 and losing 2 matches.

Albania started there UEFA Euro qualification by beating Portugal by 1 goal away from home, Bekim Balaj was the only goal scorer in the match in the 52nd minute of the game; drew their 2nd game and 1st home game of UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers against Denmark 1-1. They continued their fantastic run away from home by beating Serbia 3-0. In their 4th game Albania defeated Armenia 2-1 at home and managed to continue their 4 games unbeaten streak  by drawing their match against Denmark, which ended in a goalless draw against Denmark. Finally Portugal ended the dream run in Albania’s 6th qualifier game, by one goal to nil. They tasted their 2nd home defeat in the hands of Serbia when they were beaten by 2-0.

 

Highest goal scorer in their current squad: Armando Sadiku  5 goals from 20 games, who plays for the Swiss football  league club FC Vaduz.

Albania  recorded their highest victory margin against Vietnam in 2003 and against Cyprus in 2009 with a scoreline of 5-0 and 6-1 respectively.

Albania tasted their worst ever defeat against Hungary 12-0 in 1954.

Current FIFA RANKING OF Albania : 42

Star Players & Squad:

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Taulant Xhaka: 25 year old defender who is the older brother of Granit Xhaka the Swiss international who has recently signed for Arsenal. Taulant Xhaka started his youth career by first playing for Switzerland U 17 team in 2008-09 season. Later on Taulant Xhaka went on to play for Switzerland Under 18, 19, 20 and 21 respectively till he decided to make debut into the senior team of Albania in 2014 and he is currently playing for Grasshopper on loan from FC Basel.

 

Etrit Barisha: 27 year old goal keeper who currently plays for Lazio since 2013 has made 33 appearances for Albania.

13436168_1046499072085466_1631670341_nControversy

On 31st July 2013 A.C. Chievo Verona announced to have signed Berisha during the summer transfer window, but Berisha himself didn’t accept this, saying that he simply had an accord with the club but didn’t sign. On 5th September 2013, after Berisha signed for Lazio, Chievo announced that they had sent the case in to the FIFA. On 11nth September 2013 Lazio’s president Claudio Lotito declared that Berisha was bought and signed in the regular way according to the Transfer Window rules. On 14 September 2013 the sport director of Chievo, Giovanni Sartori accused Berisha of changing his mind for more money at Lazio. On 29th January 2014 the case was re-opened as now Lazio were looking for another keeper during the winter transfer window. On 31st January 2014 the media announced that Berisha risks a 3 months suspension due to contract which he pretended to have signed. On 5th February 2014 Giovanni Sartori asked to have this case closed and the accusations dropped. On 20th March 2014 the manager of Kalmar FF, Svante Samuelson declared that everything about the transfer of their former goalkeeper Etrit Berisha, was regular. On 28th June 2014 the media announced that Berisha’s case could be closed as FIFA was yet to make a decision.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Etrit Berisha, Alban Hoxha, Orges Shehi

Defenders: Lorik Cana, Arlind Ajeti, Mërgim Mavraj, Elseid Hysaj, Ansi Agolli, Frederic Veseli, Naser Aliji

Midfielders: Ledjan Memushaj, Ergys Kaçe,  Migjen Basha, Odise Roshi, Burim Kukeli, Ermir Lenjani, Taulant Xhaka), Armir Abrashi

Forwards:  Bekim Balaj, Sokol Çikalleshi, Armando Sadiku,  Shkëlzen Gashi