Albania team profile

UEFA EURO 2016 will be Albania's first major tournament and continues an upward curve under Italian coach Gianni De Biasi, who built on a promising 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

Albania 1967

Best result: never previously qualified
Gianni De Biasi
Leading scorer:
all-time – Erjon Bogdani (18); current – Hamdi Salihi (11)
Most appearances:
all-time – Lorik Cana (87); current – Lorik Cana (87)
Association formed:
Shqiponjat (The Eagles)
Where they play:
Elbasani Arena, Elbasan

A founder member of UEFA, Albania had never qualified for a major tournament until reaching UEFA EURO 2016, although there was a sign of things to come with improved recent results under experienced coaches like German Hans-Peter Briegel and Dutchman Arie Haan. Albania have not ended bottom of a qualifying group in their last seven campaigns; indeed, but for a poor finish to 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying, they might have reached the play-offs under Italian Gianni De Biasi, the man who stayed on to steer them to France as Group I runners-up.

EURO pedigree
Matches played

Overall: P93 W18 D22 L53 F8 A159
Final tournament: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0
Qualifying: P93 W18 D22 L53 F78 A159

Albania's introduction to the UEFA European Championship brought a famous win in a losing cause, a pattern that continued until UEFA EURO 2016 qualification. Having sat out the inaugural tournament, they achieved their first success in the competition against Denmark in the last 16 of the 1964 edition. A side led by perhaps the country's greatest player, Panajot Pano, won 1-0 in Tirana, but the Danes had already done the damage with a 4-0 first-leg victory.

Four years later Albania again displayed their quality, albeit when already eliminated. They held West Germany 0-0 to deny them a finals place for the only time. Since then there has been only sporadic success, a 3-0 victory against Turkey in the run-up to the 1972 tournament and a memorable 3-1 win against Russia in 2003 the highlights. Albania recorded their best performance in UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying, collecting 11 points, but missed out on the finals; four years later, they finished second in their group behind Portugal to earn a first appearance.

Memorable EURO matches
11/10/15: Armenia 0-3 Albania UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying
A convincing win in Yerevan sealed Albania's first qualification for a major tournament.

29/03/03: Albania 3-1 Russia, UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying
Goals from Altin Rraklli, Altin Lala and Igli Tare gave coach Briegel a dream competitive debut.

17/12/67: Albania 0-0 West Germany, 1968 UEFA European Championship qualifying
The hosts denied their opponents a finals place with a memorable draw.

Did you know?
Scorer of Albania's first goal in EURO qualifying, in a 1-0 win against Denmark in October 1963, and considered the nation's greatest player, Pano was a goalkeeper up to his teens before a shortage of outfield players led to his coach gambling on a change of position. His team lost 4-0, but Pano was on the path to greatness.

*Last updated on 18/11/15