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Albania achieve historic finals first

Before this campaign, Albania had appeared in only two EURO tournaments at youth level but they are now heading for France after a bid bookended by wins in Portugal and Armenia.

Albania celebrate scoring in Armenia
Albania celebrate scoring in Armenia ©AFP/Getty Images

Before their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign, Albania had appeared in just two UEFA final tournaments at any level: the 1982 Under-18s and 1994 U16 Championship.

As soon as they opened with a 1-0 win in Portugal, however, it was clear that Albania were genuine contenders for a place in France. And although home losses to Portugal and Serbia delayed the big moment, their 3-0 victory in Armenia on Sunday stamped the nation's historic finals ticket.

Reaction
Giovanni de Biasi, Albania coach
This has been a big success, that's obvious. I'm happy we've won a ticket to EURO 2016. To tell the truth, the score [in the 3-0 victory in Armenia] didn't matter; the important thing was to win, get the three points and take second place in the group. Armenia played well, but we were stronger. Every victory makes us happy, but this one is the most valuable.  

Key stats
Final tournaments: had never qualified
Coach: Giovanni de Biasi
Leading scorers: all-time – Erjon Bogdani (18); current – Hamdi Salihi (11)
Most appearances: all-time – Lorik Cana (87); current – Lorik Cana (87)

Record EURO appearances
Overall: Fotaq Strakosha (29)
Final tournament: none

Record EURO goals
Overall: Edmond Kapllani (5)
Final tournament: none