Not many gave Albania much of a chance of making it into the European Championships but against all odds, The Red and Blacks managed to finish in second place even though they were up against established teams such as Portugal, Denmark and Serbia in their qualification group.
The tournament will represent the first time Albania will ever be featuring in a major tournament and manager Gianni De Biasi has already become somewhat of a hero for his contributions.
Albania have now been placed in a very tough looking group alongside the likes of Switzerland, Romania and hosts France and despite their wonderful exploits of making it into the finals, not many believe that De Biasi’s men will be able to realistically qualify out of the group stages.
Nonetheless, Albania have already defied the odds and one can be sure that the minnows will not be heading into the competition just to make up the numbers.
In terms of style of play, Albania usually adopt a 4-5-1 system, which places a lot of emphasis on defensive solidity and this was evidenced by the fact that they conceded only five goals during the qualification campaign.
By the same token though, Albania only managed 10 goals and if the 42nd ranked team in the world is to do well in the competition, they will require a strong contribution from the back.
It is difficult to see Albania claiming a result against France but games against Switzerland and Romania could be key in deciding whether or not they qualify into the knockout rounds.
Key Players: Ertit Berisha, Lorik Cana, Ansi Agolli, Armando Sadiku, Odise Roshi
Best European Championship Finish
Group Stage: 2016
11 June 2016 Albania vs Switzerland Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens
15 June 2016 France vs Albania Venue: Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
19 June 2016 Romania vs Albania Venue: Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon