Albanian Team to Euro 2016 – UEFA European Championship which will be held from 10 June – 10 July 2016 in France has a new format. This year, for the first time since 1996, 24 teams will participate in the tournament. These 24 finalists will be divided into six groups with four teams in each group for the group stage. The third ranks in each group will be competed in knockout phase and get the chance to round of 16 along the winner and runner up of the groups. With the new format, Euro 2016 also had five teams that for the first time qualified to compete in the tournament. These teams are Slovakia, Iceland, Wales, Albania and Northern Ireland. And Euro 2016 will be the first major tournament for Albania and Iceland teams.
Albania national football team is representing Albania since 1946. However the Albania team never participates in any major tournament which FIFA or UEFA organized. This year 2016 European Championship will be Albania team debut at continent tournament and at major tournament. Albania team had won 1946 Balkan Cup and The Malta Rothmans International Tournament in 2000.
The present manager of Albania team is Giovanni de Biasi. He is an Italian and former midfielder. De Biasi took the job in December 2011. De Biasi recruited a number of players for his team from the people who are ethnically Albanian though not born in Albania which are spread in and out Kosovo. De Biasi also called up some player with Albania origin in different national teams. With this system the Albania team reached high number of player that never known before. In 2014 qualification of Brazil World Cup, De Biasi and the Albania team gives an impressive performance. De Biasi and the team are awarded The Honor of Nation Order, the highest civil honor in Albania for their performance in Euro 2016 qualification stage. In 2015 De Biasi took an Albania citizenship.
Albanian National Team beats Portugal at their first match
Albania team qualifies to Euro 2016 final tournament with four wins, two draws and two losses. Albania team surprise the whole world when they beat Portugal team in their first match in Euro 2016 qualification stage and get the draw result with Denmark team in the second match. When Albania team meets Serbia team, the match was abandoned because of a thread from Serbia hooligans to Albania players. The Court of Arbitration for Sport decided to give 3-0 win to Albania team and deducted three points to Serbia team. Albania team secures their position in final tournament when they beat Armenia team with 3-0.
The key player of Albania team is the captain, Lorik Cana. He had an impressive career in Paris Saint-German, Marseille, Sunderland, Lazio. And now he is playing as defender in Nantes. His leadership and tackling is hopes could bring Albania team into the future major tournament. The rising star from Albania team is Rey Manaj. Sometimes he is compared to young Ibrahimovic. He is quick, has great shot and aggressive in the field though sometimes his aggressiveness brought a problem with referee and coach.
In the upcoming final tournament of Euro 2016, Albania team is put in group A with France, Romania and Switzerland. The Albania team first match will be held in 11 June 2016 against Switzerland. The contender in group stage will be a hard test for Albania team if they want to pass into round of 16. Hope the Albania team gives an impressive performance in their first major tournament and Euro 2016 tournament will give Albania team a chance to soar even more in major tournament and become bigger team in men’s football teams.