Albania national football team

Albania national football team

Infobox National football team
Name = Albania
Badge = Albania_FA.gif
FIFA Trigramme = ALB
Nickname = Kuq e Zinjtë (Red and Blacks) | Association = Football Association of Albania
Confederation = UEFA (Europe)
Coach = flagicon|NED Arie Haan
Captain = Altin Lala
Most caps = Foto Strakosha (73)
Top scorer = Riza Lushta (30)
FIFA Rank = 83
1st ranking date = August 1993
FIFA max = 62
FIFA max date = August 2006
FIFA min = 124
FIFA min date = August 1997

Elo Rank = 89
Home Stadium = Qemal Stafa
pattern_la1=_blackshoulders|pattern_b1=|pattern_ra1=_blackshoulders
leftarm1=FF0000|body1=FF0000|rightarm1=FF0000|shorts1=000000|socks1=000000
pattern_la2=_redshoulders|pattern_b2=|pattern_ra2=_redshoulders
leftarm2=FFFFFF|body2=FFFFFF|rightarm2=FFFFFF|shorts2=FFFFFF|socks2=FFFFFF

First game = flagicon|Albania|1946 Albania 2 - 3 Yugoslavia Flagicon|Yugoslavia (Tirana, Albania; October 7, 1946)

Largest win = Flagicon|Turkey Turkey 1 - 4 Albania Flagicon|Albania (Antalya, Turkey; January 21, 1998)
Largest loss = Flagicon|Hungary|1949 Hungary 12 - 0 Albania Flagicon|Albania|1946 (Budapest, Hungary; September 24, 1950)
World cup apps =
World cup first =
World cup best =
Regional name = European Championship
Regional cup apps =
Regional cup first =
Regional cup best = |

The Albania national football team is the national football team of Albania and is controlled by the Football Association of Albania. Although not considered as one of the strongest footballing sides in Europe, Albanians are passionate about their football and the national team has occasionally managed to perform well against more illustrious opponents.

Founded on June 6, 1930, Albania had to wait 16 years to play the first international match, debuting against Yugoslavia in 1946. In 1932 Albania had already joined FIFA (during the congress June 12 - June 16) and in 1954 it was one of the founding members of UEFA. Albania had been invited to play in World Cup 1934, but owing to organizing difficulties it didn't take part.

In addition to the senior football team, Albania also has teams of U21, U19, and U17 level. One of the most successful is the feeder of the senior team, the U21 level. In the finals of the Euro 1984 U21 championship they went all the way to the quarter-finals, only to be knocked out by Italy 2-0 on aggregate. They became the only Albanian team in any level to qualify for a competitive tournament. Currently Albania does not have a women's.

Most of the matches of Albanian national team have been played in Qemal Stafa. The stadium was built around the 1930s as a multi-use stadium. Today, it is mostly used for football matches. The stadium has a capacity of 19,200 spectators with 15,000 seats. Albania has also used the Loro-Boriçi stadium in Shkodra where they have had some successful matches, like beating Russia 3-1 in a home Euro 2004 qualifying match. There is a rumor that the Football Association of Albania is planning to build a stadium in Tirana with a capacity of around 30,000.

Albania has an official supporters' association, the Tifozat Kuq e Zi who self-finance their activities using help from FSHF to arrange traveling and stadium visits for the matches. [ [http://www.tifozatkuqezi.com/ Tifozat Kuq e Zi] ]

On December 2007, Albanian Football Federation president Armando Duka announced Arie Haan would replace Croatia's Otto Baric as Albania head coach. He signed a two-year contract on January 4, 2008. [FIFA [http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/news/newsid=667585.html#haan+named+albania+boss Haan named Albania boss] "]

Albania start their FIFA World Cup 2010 Qualifying campaign against Sweden on September 6, 2008. They have been drawn in Group 1 with Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, Hungary and Malta.

On March 14, 2008, Albania was suspended from international football (FIFA and UEFA) due to heavy political interference in the FA. The suspension lasted 46 days. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SPORT/football/04/29/fifa.albania.ap/index.html Albania suspension lifted by FIFA] ] [ [http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jqvqNymxClrCYxj_JwtH29T7OgTA FIFA says its emergency committee has decided to lift suspension of Albania] ] [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/04/29/sports/EU-SPT-SOC-FIFA-Albania.php FIFA lifts suspension of Albania over alleged interference] ]

History

The early years oversaw a notably successful Balkan Cup in the 1946 campaign. Albania won the cup after overcoming Yugoslavia on level points but a better goal difference. The final match was played and won against Romania 1-0. Four days earlier, Albania had already beaten Bulgaria 3-1. Interestingly, Albania wasn't expected to participate, but the withdrawal of Greece from the tournament offered Albania a chance to join in the re-established post-war cup.

After taking part for the first time in European Championships in 1963, for edition 1964, in the 1968 European qualifiers, they managed a 0-0 draw against West Germany, which eventually eliminated West Germany from qualification. During that era, Albania boasted arguably its greatest ever footballer, Panajot Pano.

The 1986 FIFA World Cup qualifiers brought further notable results with a 2-2 draw away to Poland and a 2-0 win over eventual semi-finalists Belgium.

The qualifiers for the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers saw Albania forced to play some home games on neutral venues due to civil unrest at home. However, they achieved a 4-1 win over Turkey in an away friendly match in 1998 - the only time Albania have scored more than 3 goals in a full international match (although they did win 5-0 at home to Montenegro on September 22, 1946, Montenegro was at that time part of Yugoslavia).

During the 2004 European qualifiers, Albania managed a heroic 3-1 win against Russia in Shkodër.

The 2006 World Cup qualifiers qualifiers have seen Albania's results improve markedly, including an epic 2-1 victory against the then newly crowned European Champions, Greece.

Recently, the U19 team also known as "Shpresat" ("The Team of Hopes"), managed to qualify for the Elite round in the Euro U19 2008 which is going to be held in Czech Republic. Along the way, they lost against Spain (2-0), won a very important match against Serbia (2-1) and drew with Lichtenstein (0-0). They are expected to resume the tournament in March 1. [ [http://www.uefa.com/competitions/under19/standings/index.html UEFA European U-19 C'ship] ]

FIFA World Cup 1966 Qualification

The first time that Albania competed for a place in the world's elite for the World Cup 1966 in England was a match against Netherlands in mid-1964. Drawn in Group 5 with the Dutch were also Northern Ireland and Switzerland. Albania only got a point from this qualification round in a game against Northern Ireland in Tirana, which actually prevented Northern Ireland from qualfiying.

Group 5

May 24, 1964, Rotterdam, Netherlands - fb|NED 2 - 0 fb|ALB|1946

October 25, 1964, Tirana, Albania - fb|ALB|1946 0 - 2 fb|NED

April 11, 1965, Tirana, Albania - fb|ALB|1946 0 - 2 fb|SUI

May 2, 1965, Geneva, Switzerland - fb|SUI 1 - 0 fb|ALB|1946

May 7, 1965, Belfast, Northern Ireland - fb|NIR 4 - 1 fb|ALB|1946

November 24, 1965, Tirana, Albania - fb|ALB|1946 1 - 1 fb|NIR

*Switzerland qualified.

FIFA World Cup 1998 Qualification

In the 1998 World Cup, Albania was drawn in a 6-team group which included Germany, Portugal, Ukraine, Northern Ireland and Armenia, Albania got 4 points but showed again that it can battle with the big powers. Its two matches with Germany saw them lose 2-3 at neutral ground and a 3-4 unfortunate defeat in Hannover. Albania got a 1-0 win against Northern Ireland and a 1-1 tie against Armenia.

Group 9

October 9, 1996, Tirana, Albania fb|ALB 0 - 3 fb|POR

November 9, 1996, Tirana, Albania fb|ALB 1 - 1 fb|ARM

December 14, 1996, Belfast, Northern Ireland fb|NIR 2 - 0 fb|ALB

March 29, 1997, Granada, Spain fb|ALB 0 - 1 fb|UKR

April 2, 1997, Granada, Spain fb|ALB 2- 3 fb|GER

June 7, 1997, Porto, Portugal fb|POR 2 - 0 fb|ALB

August 20, 1997, Kyiv, Ukraine fb|UKR 1 - 0 fb|ALB

September 6, 1997, Yerevan, Armenia fb|ARM 3 - 0 fb|ALB

September 10, 1997, Zürich, Switzerland fb|ALB 1 - 0 fb|NIR

October 11, 1997, Hannover, Germany fb|GER 4 - 3 fb|ALB

* Germany qualified. [ [http://www.rsssf.com/tables/98q.html WC 1998 Qual. Group 9] ]

UEFA Euro 2008 Qualification

In the matches for the 2008 European qualifiers campaign, Albania have managed very good results as well as good team play in some matches comparing to previous outings in such tournaments. Starting with the 2-2 away draw to Belarus, two wins against Luxembourg home and away (2-0, 0-3) and a 0-0 draw away to Bulgaria have been the most cherished results. Great matches have been played against Netherlands in both legs, although allegedly dubious referee decisions have marred Albania's performances, [ [http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=197400&cc=5739 Disallowed Albanian goal] , versus the Netherlands, Euro 2008 qualifier: ESPNsoccernet website. Retrieved on September 14, 2007.] [ [http://www.albaniasoccer.com/en/index.php?id=613 Albanian Football Federation] , files official complaint with UEFA regarding Netherlands game: Albania soccer website. Retrieved on September 16, 2007.] ending up in two losses (2-1, 0-1). Other set-backs have also been suffered after drawing 0-0 against Slovenia and losing 0-2 to Romania in both matches played at home. Albania ended hopes of qualifying mathematically when they failed to win over Slovenia away and managed a yet again 0-0 draw. In the penultimate match at home against Bulgaria, Albania excelled playing wonderfully but ended up in a very unlucky draw. After going ahead with dominating football, they conceded in the dying minutes and later missed a penalty. In the last match at home, Albania was hugely disappointing losing 2-4 against Belarus. Contrary to the popular belief that this would be the easiest match during the campaign, Albania not only missed a chance to break the points-record of all competitions but also produced a very lethargic performance in a rainy night. Albania's Euro campaign ended with a disaster match, losing 6-1 away to Romania which eventually resulted in the resignation of the coach Otto Barić and his assistant. [ [http://fshf.org/lajme_m.aspx?id=359 Baric: Po largohem] ]

Group G

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*Romania and Netherlands qualified.

UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying Group G
expanded=yes

ome memorable matches

Albania versus other countries

Former famous players

*Loro Boriçi
*Riza Lushta
*Selman Stërmasi
*Bledar Kola
*Naim Kryeziu
*Sulejman Demollari
*Agustin Kola
*Mirel Josa
*Arben Minga (28 caps, 2 goals)
*Sokol Kushta (31 caps, 10 goals)
*Vasil Ruci (67 caps, 10 goals)
*Panajot Pano (25 caps, ? goals)
*Rudi Vata 1990-2001 (59 caps, 5 goals)
*Blendi Nallbani 1989-2002 (18 caps, 0 goals)
*Mehmet Dragusha 2003-2005 (6 caps, 0 goals)
*Altin Rraklli 1997-2005 (63 caps, 11 goals)
*Foto Strakosha 1996-2006 (73 caps)
*Besnik Hasi ?-2006 (50 caps, 2 goals)
*Adrian Aliaj ?-2006 (15 caps, 8 goals)
*Igli Tare ?-2007
*Edvin Murati ?-2007

Notable Managers

*Flagicon|Germany Hans-Peter Briegel 2002-2006
*Flagicon|AustriaFlagicon|Croatia Otto Baric 2006-2008

Honours

enior team

* Winners of VIII Balkan Cup (Tirana, October 1946)
* Winners of Rothmans Football International Tournament (Valletta, February 4 - February 10, 2000) [ [http://www.mfa.com.mt/Events/2000evts.htm Malta 2000 Events] ]

Albania U-23

* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 1969 in Romania
* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 1970 in Bulgaria
* 2nd place in Balkan Cup 1974 in Romania

Albania U-21

* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 1976 in Greece
* Winners of Balkan Cup 1978 (home-away matches)
* Winners of Balkan Cup 1981 in Greece

Albania U-18

* 2nd place in Balkan Cup 1979 in Bulgaria
* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 1985 in Greece
* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 1987 in Turkey
* 2nd place in Adriatic Tournament 1990 in Italy
* 2nd place in Balkan Cup 1990 in Greece
* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 1995 in Turkey

Albania U-17

* 2nd place in Rijeka Tournament 1996 in Croatia

Albania U-16

* 2nd place in Nereo Rocco Tournament 1996 in Italy

Albania U-15

* Winners of Beato Annibale Maria di Francia Tournament 1996 in Italy
* 3rd place in Balkan Cup 2001 in Albania

Albania U-14

* 2nd place in Primavera Tournament 1995 in Italy

World Cup record

*1930 to 1962 - "Did not enter"
*1966 - "Did not qualify"
*1970 - "Entry not accepted by FIFA"
*1974 - "Did not qualify"
*1978 - "Did not enter"
*1982 to 2006 - "Did not qualify"

European Championship record

*1960 - "Did not enter"
*1964 to 1972 - "Did not qualify"
*1976 - "Did not enter"
*1980 to 2008 - "Did not qualify"

ee also

*Kategoria superiore
*Albania national under-21 football team
*List of Albanian footballers

References

External links

* [http://www.albaniasoccer.com/en/ AlbaniaSoccer.com]
* [http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/r.j.gerrard/cgi-bin/rdifarch_21.pl?SECONDARY=any&PRIMARY=alb&FROMYEAR=1940&TOYEAR=2001&COMP=0&SUMMARY=on&TABULAR=0&DATAVER=10.0 AIFR archive of results: 1946-2000/01]
* [http://www.freewebs.com/albsoccer/ Albanian Soccer News]
* [http://www.tifozatkuqezi.com/ Tifozat Kuq e Zi / Red and Black Fan Club]
* [http://foreignaffairs.tripod.com/armillotta/albanian_cups.html Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation - Albania]
* [http://www.albania-sport.com/ Albania Sport]


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